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UNICEF sounds alert over alarming rates of child malnutrition in Chad

New Survey Shows Rates well above Emergency levels in the Country’s Sahelian Belt

N’Djamena, Chad 24 September 2010 – An expanded programme to save the lives of children is being put in place after a survey of under 5s revealed high malnutrition rates in six of the country’s regions.

The nutrition survey was conducted by UNICEF and the Ministry of Health in the regions of Lac, Hadjer-Lamis, Batha, Guera, Ouaddai and Wadi-Fira.

Carried out in partnership with World Food Programme (WFP) and funded by the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), it reveals global acute malnutrition rates ranging from 15.2 to 24.9%, all above the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold of 15%.

"We have been responding to a nutritional crisis which has been threatening the lives and well being of children since the beginning of the year", said UNICEF Representative in the country, Dr. Marzio Babille, "but these latest figures prove that families have been experiencing a severe reduction in their ability to cope and fend for themselves."

"UNICEF, government and partners are scaling up interventions and intensifying efforts in these regions with the aim of supporting 50,000 of the most vulnerable children. To do this, we appeal to donors to make up the eight million dollar shortfall that exists in the multi-sector emergency appeal, including interventions in the fields of Health and Nutrition, Water supply, sanitation and hygiene and, HIV/AIDS for $19 million made earlier this year," Dr. Babille concluded.

Note to editors
Historically, the Sahel belt of Chad is affected by prolonged periods of food insecurity resulting in poor health and nutrition indicators for children and women. In the recent past, the region has increasingly suffered from consequences of climate change impact, namely the deteriorating quantity of rainfall, and other factors such as food price rise and increased migration of labour, thus leaving children and women more vulnerable. During the agricultural season 2009-2010, rainfall was inadequate both in quantity and in geographical distribution, which led to a severe drop in harvest and livestock production. Cereal production was reduced by 34% in the country compared to 2008-2009. The situation is further exacerbated by a weak health system in Chad, low prevalence of exclusive breastfeeding, poor access to safe drinking water and occurrence of recurrent outbreaks such as measles and meningitis.

For more information, please contact:
Hector CALDERON, UNICEF Chad, tel.+235 66 36 00 42, email: hcalderon@unicef.org

 

 
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