Additional €2.7 million from the EU Humanitarian Aid to tackle child malnutrition in Niger
In Niger, over 1.6 million children under five are estimated to suffer from malnutrition, of which over 450,000 severely.
NIAMEY (Niger), 29 July 2021 - UNICEF receives additional €2.7 million funding support from the EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) to ensure that children with severe wasting across the country receive quality care and treatment.
This support comes at a critical time for Niger, where 2.2 million people need nutrition assistance and over 1.6 million children under five are estimated to suffer from malnutrition, of which over 450,000 severely, exposing them to an increased risk of death.
"Malnutrition is a major threat to children’s health and development in Niger. Rates of severe wasting at national level regularly exceed the emergency threshold" says the newly appointed UNICEF Representative in Niger, M. Stefano Savi.
A UNICEF-supported national nutrition survey based on the SMART (Standard Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition) methodology organized in 2020 showed a prevalence of severe wasting of 2.6%, surpassing the WHO emergency threshold of 2%. The situation was particularly severe in Diffa, Agadez, Maradi, Zinder and Tahoua regions with a prevalence of severe wasting near or above 3 per cent.
"The trend in acute malnutrition remains unchanged over the past years, indicating the continuous challenges faced by the children of Niger in accessing rights to adequate nutrition, health, care and stimulation” M. Savi explains. “To tackle child malnutrition, we need to focus and invest in prevention as a long-lasting solution, while responding to acute emergency. This funding support will help us accelerate efforts both in prevention and treatment.”
This generous contribution will enable UNICEF to increase effective coverage of prevention, early detection, and management of acute malnutrition through national systems and community platforms; (ii) strengthen national capacities on supply chain management, including tracking, integration, and identification of co-funding approaches for Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF); and (iii) enhance regional and national nutrition information systems and capacities on emergency preparedness and response, as well as coordination mechanisms for improved programming and early warning in Nutrition.
The funding will also contribute towards strengthening the human resource capacity for nutrition, an area ECHO has been previously supported through its partnership with NGOs.
In 2020, through a network of 1,162 health facilities, around 420,029 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition, including 46,567 children with medical complications, received quality treatment and care thanks in part to ECHO’s contribution.
“ECHO’s support was instrumental to strengthen national capacities to prevent and treat malnutrition in the country. We are profoundly grateful that the EU Humanitarian aid has once again committed to the children of Niger” M. Savi concludes.
UNICEF promotes the rights and well-being of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.