Nutrition services for children and mothers in rural Homs, Syria

UNICEF has provided almost 4,000 children and 300 mothers with much-need nutritional supplements and treated over 40 children for severe acute malnutrition

UNICEF
health worker talking to mother and her children
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi

07 April 2019

Since humanitarian access was restored to villages and towns in northern rural Homs in May 2018 after more than 5 years of interruption, UNICEF has provided almost 4,000 children and 300 mothers with much-need nutritional supplements and treated over 40 children for severe acute malnutrition thanks to support from the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Working through a fixed health center and a mobile team covering four villages in the area, UNICEF has also reached over 1,000 pregnant and nursing women with messages on best practices in infant and young child feeding.

“Counselling is vital in preventing malnutrition among children as it educates young caregivers in conflict-affected areas, on the dos and don’ts of child feeding during the first 1000 days of life,”

Hala Bediwi, UNICEF health and nutrition officer in Homs and Hama.
grandmother carrying a baby
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi
Khairiya, 50, first brought her granddaughter, one-year-old Alaa to the UNICEF-supported health clinic in Talbisa, northern rural Homs over 5 months ago. Alaa was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. Thanks to close follow up and treatment at the clinic, Alaa is now healthy and has turned the corner on malnutrition.
woman hold ing a baby
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi
Naser, 2, regularly visits the UNICEF-supported centre in Talbisa, northern rural Homs with his mother for checkups and necessary micronutrients. Amal, Naser’s mother, also receives counseling on age-appropriate feeding practices.

UNICEF-supported volunteers deliver these messages through caregiver support groups and door-to-door visits. “One of the wrong practices we often encounter is mothers introducing sugar and starch solutions to babies before the age of six months and goat or cow milk before they’re one year old,” explains Ola Arab, one of the UNICEF-supported volunteers. During these encounters with parents, UNICEF-supported volunteers emphasize the importance of early initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life and exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months.

health worker malnutrition screening for little girl
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi
Riham, 3, gets her upper arm circumference measured as part of malnutrition screening at the UNICEF-supported health center in Talbisa, northern rural Homs.
boy screened for malnutrition
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi
Salem, 3, came with his mother to a UNICEF-supported health center in Talbisa, where he is screened for malnutrition and provided with preventive nutritional supplements.
girl got malnutrition screening
UNICEF/Syria2019/Abdulaziz Aldroubi
Mariam, 4, gets her upper arm circumference measured as part of malnutrition screening at the UNICEF-supported health center in Talbisa, northern rural Homs.