© UNICEF/NYHQ1997-1510/Linton

A woman breastfeeds her infant at a health centre. Lack of food and limited access to basic services have contributed to a rising rate of malnutrition in children.


According to the latest UNICEF/Ministry of Health malnutrition survey carried out in March 2008, the global acute malnutrition rate in Mauritania is 12 per cent. This clearly reflects the deteriorating food situation that has been characterized by a lack of availability of and poor accessibility to basic services, as well as with a weak health-care system for the treatment and prevention of severe malnutrition. The percentage of population using improved drinking-water sources and improved sanitation facilities stands at 50.5 per cent and 38.2 per cent, respectively. Also, the reintegration of Mauritanian refugees from Senegal requires securing basic social services in the areas of return, a critical issue particularly for children that needs to be resolved in the coming future.


UNICEF is cluster lead for nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and co-chairs consultative groups on health and protection. UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach at least 500,000 children in 2009.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will distribute ready-to-use therapeutic foods, drugs, vitamin A supplements, deworming tablets and impregnated mosquito nets for 200,000 children under age five and for pregnant women representing 90 per cent of the target population; train health personnel in the management of acute malnutrition; and reinforce immunization services as part of a basic child survival package. UNICEF will also provide returnees with access to health and nutrition services.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide 40,000 displaced, returnees and vulnerable persons with safe water and sanitation by constructing/rehabilitating wells and sanitary facilities and promoting hygiene education and hygiene awareness programmes in 50 schools and 50 local communities.

Education: UNICEF will provide basic school materials to up to 5,000 children and some 300 teachers affected by emergencies or in-country conflicts; ensure the rehabilitation of schools and the provision of 205 temporary schools and classroom structures, with additional WASH inputs. 

Child Protection: UNICEF will focus on those vulnerable groups most affected by the emergency, such as unaccompanied children, children living and/or working on the street, domestic girls and survivors of sexual exploitation and abuse, estimated at around 1,000 children.

Mine-Risk Education: UNICEF will pursue its mine-risk education (MRE) programme and provide assistance to approximately 1,000 mine survivors.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 2,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 500,000
Education 350,000
Child Protection 250,000
Mine-Risk Education 100,000
Total** 3,200,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.