Acute malnutrition threatens the lives of vulnerable children in the Great Southeast of Madagascar
After cyclones swept the country in February 2022, this part of the main island was once again impacted by cyclone Freddy in February 2023. According to projections, 115,000 children will need to be treated for acute malnutrition this year.
Health agents are getting ready to receive children suffering from acute malnutrition at the health center of Anosy Tsararafa in south-eastern Madagascar.
Health agent Kamosa Arisaina Vetas (on the left) starts the activities by raising awareness about nutrition, food, and hygiene.
24-year-old Soa came with three of her four children, including twins Marina (in her arms) and Julien, who are seven months old.
“I brought my children to get a checkup at the health center because they have been losing weight for four weeks”, she says.
Vetas checks Marina’s weight: she is suffering from severe acute malnutrition, the deadliest form of undernutrition.
Vetas reads Marina’s weight on the scale provided by UNICEF.
“109 millimeters”, he says to his colleague after examining Marina’s arm circumference. Even though she put on 100 grams in a week, she is still in the red zone.
To treat Marina, Soa receives ready-to-use therapeutic food rations provided by UNICEF.
Marina takes her treatment in the arms of Soa, who also carries Julien on her back.
Patients await the result of their malaria test, with the disease growing in the region. Malaria worsens malnutrition in children, whose health is already fragile.
Soa’s children eat breadfruit for lunch. It grows in the wild and is often used to meet food needs, particularly during the hunger gap season.
Portrait of Soa and her family in front of their house.