UNICEF-supported mobile teams treat malnourished children in Manbij, Syria

“I started noticing that Bayan is much thinner than her sisters were at her age,”

Basma Ourfali
A child's arm getting measured
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa

08 April 2019

Following a respite in violence in 2017, families started returning to their damaged homes in Mazraa village of Manbij district, in eastern rural Aleppo amid a severe lack of basic services, adding to the vulnerability of children and their families. UNICEF supported a mobile health clinic at the village, providing children and mothers with consultations and medicine, immunization services, malnutrition screening and treatment and awareness raising activities on infant and young child feeding.

In a small mud house in the remote village of Mazraa in eastern rural Aleppo Nawal, 27, lives with her three daughters; Bana, 6, Baraa, 3, and Bayan, 7 months old. Originally from Aleppo, the family had been living in Raqqa in northeastern Syria before violence forced them to seek safety in several areas in rural Aleppo over the past years. When her husband died in violence a few months ago, the young mother decided to return to her hometown, Mazraa, and live at a relative’s house. 

Harsh living conditions combined with the loss of livelihoods have taken a toll on the family.

A mother with her child speaking to a doctor
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
A UNICEF-supported health worker examines Bayan, 7 months, at her home in eastern rural Aleppo.

“I started noticing that Bayan is much thinner than her sisters were at her age. Her skin was very dry, and you could see her bones clearly,”

Nawal

While UNICEF-supported health workers went door-to-door in Mazraa, screening children and pregnant and lactating women for malnutrition, they met Bayan. A measurement of her upper arm circumference confirmed her mother’s fears: she was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition.

Bayan received close follow-up, treatment and much-needed nutritional supplements. In one month, she showed significant improvement with her upper arm circumference increasing from 9.5 centimetres to 11.5 centimetres.

Mother walking with her 3 children
UNICEF/ Syria 2019/ Khudr Al-Issa
In a small mud house in the remote village of Mazraa in eastern rural Aleppo lives Nawal, 27, with her three daughtes; Bana, 6, Baraa, 3, and Bayan, 7 months old.

“I’m happy to see her become a healthy child, she has so much more energy than before and laughs with us all the time!”

Nawal

Thanks to contributions from the U.S Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Department for International Development (DFID), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) and Austria, UNICEF supports two mobile health clinics and five health centres, providing basic healthcare and nutrition services to returnees to villages across Manbij district in eastern rural Aleppo.