UNICEF, FFP-USAID, and WFP strengthen cooperation to reduce child malnutrition in Niger
A joint mission composed of Food For Peace-USAID, UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR, ALIMA, and the local authorities visited the prevention and treatment of malnutrition projects in the region.
Maradi, Niger. - Child malnutrition levels in Niger have barely reduced in the last decade. Both acute and chronic malnutrition remains high. Every year, between 350,000 and 400,000 under-five children are treated for severe acute malnutrition. More than 1 million are chronically malnourished.
The situation is critical for the health, development and education of children but also for the human capital and the social and economic development of the country. Today, Niger has one of the highest prevalence and numbers of stunted children in the Sahel region.
In this context, USAID’s Food For Peace in partnership with UNICEF and WFP contribute to save children's lives in the most affected regions of Niger. In recent years, the FFP support was instrumental to ensure an uninterrupted pipeline for the treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition over the past years. On average, FFP contribution enabled to purchase 50,000 cartons of RUTF per year (between 2016 and 2019), enough to treat 72,800 SAM children annually.
The mission visited the Maradi region to interact with UNICEF and WFP nutrition teams, government technical staff, health workers and to understand first-hand the malnutrition prevention and treatment package for beneficiaries.
In 2019, the border villages in the Maradi region provided shelter to more than 39,000 displaced people fleeing from violence in Northern Nigeria; the vast majority - around 70 percent - are women and children. This situation exacerbates the vulnerability of both the refugee and host families who struggle access to basic social services, such as safe and nutritious food to support.
'Our main objective is to further understand our partner's strategy in dealing with chronic and acute malnutrition, and their success and challenges during planning and implementation phases' said the delegation during the visit.
USAID-FFP 2019 contribution to UNICEF will also enable in 2020 to:
- Conduct an evaluation of the national IMAM program over the past 10 years.
- Capitalize on the MUAC-by-mothers approach (Maradi region);
- Contribute to improving stimulation and ECD activities in inpatient and outpatient facilities (Maradi region – Madarounfa health district);
- Contribute to the national nutrition survey that will be conducted in August-September 2020
- Conduct health staff training on supplies and stock management in Tahoua region.
Through the USAID’s Office of Food for Peace (FFP)partnership, UNICEF and partners respond to the urgent food needs of populations affected by displacement, natural disasters or other shocks in Niger through supplementary nutrition assistance to prevent and treat malnutrition in children.