The Government of Niger and partners call for more efforts to prevent and fight child malnutrition
Joint press release
NIAMEY, Niger, 5 September 2013 – More efforts are being urged to combat what is being described as an ‘alarming’ nutritional situation for children in Niger. Despite a good agricultural pastoral season, more than 13 in 100 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, the National Nutrition Survey shows.
According to the annual survey results, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) in children aged 6-59 months remains above the 10 per cent alert level as per the World Health Organization standards, although there has been a decline from 14.8 % to 13.3 % between 2012 and 2013.
The prevalence of severe acute malnutrition (SAM), the most severe form of under-nutrition, stood at 2.6%, while the prevalence of chronic malnutrition is 42.5%. The situation of children aged 6 to 23 months is of particular concern, as one in five children suffers from acute malnutrition, with nearly 5% from SAM.
As in previous years the government health service and humanitarian partners have mounted a considerable effort to reach vulnerable children and those most at risk. During the first seven months of 2013, 505.976 cases of acute malnutrition were treated by Niger’s public health facilities, nearly half of the cases expected this year.
These prevalence rates indicates that food shortages, while still important, are not the only cause of child malnutrition: the lack of access to health services, clean water, hygiene and sanitation; the occurrence of infectious diseases; inadequate family and community child-care practices contribute significantly to the deterioration of their nutritional status.
This is why it is more important than ever to invest into integrated approaches; create synergies between partners working in the same areas; reduce the vulnerability of the populations; ensure continuity between humanitarian and development interventions and place Niger at the forefront of thinking for building community resilience. This strategy, implemented in coordination with the Government’s 3N Initiative (The Nigeriens Nourish the Nigeriens), will help Niger to put food and nutrition security at the heart of the national agenda in favor of the next generations.
The Government of Niger, the United Nations Fund for Children (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP) call on all partners working in the field of food and nutrition security to intensify their efforts to prevent child malnutrition and join together against its underlying and structural causes. This is the only way to sustainably meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
For more information, please contact:
Anne Boher, Communication Unicef Niger,
Vigno Hounkanli, Communication PAM Niger,