Identify – Treat – Prevent
UNICEF, WFP and FAO address malnutrition in the Walikale territory by strengthening food security.
UNICEF is working with hundreds of community outreach workers to detect cases of malnutrition. It was a community outreach worker in the Walikale territory who found 4 year old Dieu suffering from malnutrition. "My son was not well", recalled his mother Zuena. Thanks to a graduated bracelet – also known as a brachial perimeter – the outreach worker was able to identify that Dieu was suffering from malnutrition. He encouraged Zuena to go to the nearest health clinic for consultation, ensuring her that there was no cost.
Zuena took her son to the clinic following the advice of the outreach worker who is the go-between person between the communities and health services. The doctor was able to quickly confirm that the little boy was suffering from severe acute malnutrition and needed treatment. Zuena was then given ready-to-use therapeutic foods and nutrition counseling.
Like most health problems, malnutrition can best be addressed and treated when it is detected early. While her son was regaining weight, Zuena joined a community workshop where she learned about gardening and was given some seeds. This activity gives her a source of income to better feed her children. "The money I earn allows me to pay for fish, for example, which I mix with vegetables", said Zuena, proud of her son's greatly improved health.
More than half of the population suffers from severe food insecurity in Walikale and Rutshuru in the North-Kivu province. With the support of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), UNICEF, the WFP and FAO are working jointly to relaunch agricultural production and local vegetable markets, combat food insecurity, increase access to loans, improve community infrastructures and promote peace.