UNICEF comment on malnutrition in Afghanistan at the Geneva Palais briefing

This is a summary of what was said by Marixie Mercado, UNICEF spokesperson – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today's press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

26 June 2020
Afghanistan. A child is screened for malnutrition.
UNICEF/UN0339436/Frank Dejongh
A baby is screened for malnutrition at a hospital in the Kishim district of Badakhshan Province in northeastern Afghanistan.

GENEVA, 26 June 2020 – “Our latest data show the number of children below five years old suffering from life threatening malnutrition has risen from 690,000 in January to an estimated 780,000 in May. This 13% increase over this short period of time is incredibly alarming. Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition – especially those with other complications such as measles, or diarrhea, are at death’s door. They require specialized treatment.

“Coping strategies have been stretched to the limit, hospitals are struggling, and even where services are available, families are afraid to bring children in for inpatient treatment due to fear of contagion.  We fear worse is yet to come.

“It is vital that nutrition services both at community and facility level are scaled up to prevent more children slipping into severe malnutrition and to make sure life-saving treatment is available for those that do.”

Media contacts

Joe English
Tel: +1 917 893 0692
Marixie Mercado
Tel: +41 79 559 7172

Additional resources

Omid from Afghanistan
Omid, a ten-month-old malnourished child suffering from pneumonia is treated in Mofleh Pediatric Hospital in the province of Herat province, west of Afghanistan on January 29, 2019.


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