Mia Farrow highlights child malnutrition in Cameroon
Bazzama, Cameroon, 17 September 2009 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow has been witnessing a silent emergency in Cameroon during a weeklong trip here.
Ms. Farrow visited a UNICEF-supported nutrition centre in Bazzama village, eastern Cameroon, where refugees fleeing instability in the neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) also come for help.
The facility offers special care for malnourished children. Such services are urgently needed; tens of thousands of Cameroonian children die from the effects malnutrition every year.
Food distribution day
The actress and children’s advocate, who has travelled extensively in the region, said she hoped her trip would highlight the gravity of the problems facing Cameroon.
“In a country of relative wealth, a middle-income country, there is really no need for 52,000 children to die each year of malnutrition,” she said.
Listening to mothers
“Cameroonians have hosted many numbers – a quarter of a million from neighbouring countries,” she said. “So I wanted to see how it was going, how the people are feeling, how they are surviving and how they feel about returning.”Cameroon is home to 63,000 refugees from CAR, who make up the single largest refugee population in the country. They’ve been arriving for several years to escape conflict and violence at home. Malnutrition is a major concern for both the refugees and their host communities.
Food and health assistance
Four out of 10 regions in the country have high malnutrition rates. Ms Farrow said she hoped her visit would prompt more action on this critical issue.
By Salma Zulfiqar