UNICEF treats children in Al-Hol camp, Syria for malnutrition

Aiming with 62 trained volunteers to reach over 24,000 children under the age of five.

UNICEF
woman screening a girl
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen

29 April 2019

Thanks to the support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), UNICEF, through its partners, launched a malnutrition screening campaign at Al-Hol camp, aiming to reach over 24,000 children under the age of five. 62 trained volunteers are taking part in the campaign to detect, prevent and treat children for malnutrition.

woman holding baby
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
A UNICEF-supported mobile health team identified six-months-old Abdulrahman during the screening campaign for malnutrition at Al-Hol, and diagnosed him with severe acute malnutrition and diarrhea. Working with WHO, the UNICEF team referred Abdulrahman to a hospital in Hassakeh where he will undergo treatment. Abdulrahman and his family arrived at Al-Hol two months ago, fleeing violence in Baghuz.
woman screening a child
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
A UNICEF-supported health worker screens four-year-old Ibrahim for malnutrition at Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, thanks to a generous contribution from DFID.
a baby
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
Four-months-old baby Musab was born in Susa in rural Deir-ez-Zor in northeastern Syria, before his family made the trip to Al-Hol camp. Having lived through harsh humanitarian conditions, Musab has been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition. His health deteriorated by the day until he reached safety at the camp, when a UNICEF-supported health team referred him to a hospital in Hassakeh where he underwent treatment for a month. Musab continues to receive close follow-up and treatment by UNICEF-supports teams at the camp. “Back in Susa, I barely had enough to eat myself and so I wasn’t able to breastfeed him,” recalls Mashael, Musab’s mother.

“Back in Susa, I barely had enough to eat myself and so I wasn’t able to breastfeed him,”

Mashael, Musab’s mother.
a baby sitting in scale
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
14-months-old Mahmoud is screened for malnutrition by UNICEF supported volunteers at a clinic in Al-Hol cam
woman screening a child
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
Yaqoub, almost two, arrived at Al-Hol camp with his family four months ago, fleeing violence in Hajin in southeast Deir-ez-Zor. Ever since he was a newborn, Yaqoub suffered from severe acute malnutrition. As soon as he arrived at the camp, a UNICEF-supported mobile health team, in coordination with WHO, referred him to a hospital in Hassakeh where he underwent treatment for a month. “I’m so thankful that my son’s health has improved since we arrived at the camp,” says the mother of eight.

Volunteers go from one tent to another, measuring children’s mid-upper-arm circumference (MUAC) to determine malnutrition, referring those identified as suffering of severe or moderate acute malnutrition to UNICEF-supported clinics at the camp or hospitals in Hassakeh, and distributing much-needed nutritional supplements both therapeutic and preventive.

woman screening a child
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
A UNICEF-supported health worker screens 11-months-old Manar for malnutrition at Al-Hol camp in northeastern Syria, thanks to a generous contribution from DFID.
woman screening a baby
UNICEF/Syria2019/Masoud Hasen
Khalat, 24, is one of the UNICEF-supported volunteers screening children for malnutrition at Al-Hol camp.

“I’m proud of what we’re doing here as we’ve seen firsthand the bad condition of children and women arriving after days on the road,”

Khalat, 24, UNICEF-supported volunteers

The camp is now home to over 73,000 people, mostly women and children, operating well beyond its capacity. Families had arrived from southeast Deir-ez-Zor exhausted and in need of medical assistance due to the compound effect of years of deteriorating humanitarian conditions, as well as an arduous journey to safety at the camp.