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Togo: UNICEF responds to nutritional emergency - launching of a detection and treatment of malnourished children campaign

© UNICEF Togo/Hadrien Bonnaud/2008
© UNICEF Togo/Hadrien Bonnaud

Togo- June 2008- In Togo, the under 5 malnutrition rate is at an alarming 14.3%, above the emergency level of 10%. In three of the five Togolese regions (Maritime, Kara, and Savanes), more than 77,000 children suffer from malnutrition, among whom 18,800 suffer from acute severe malnutrition.

In order to address this disturbing situation effectively, UNICEF has opened 134 nutritional rehabilitation centres, trained more than 350 health agents and close to 1,400 community health agents, supplied more than 200 tons of therapeutic food, medicine, anthropometric material, and developed tools for the collection of data and the follow-up of activities in the health centres.

More than 6 in 10 Togolese live below the poverty line (on less than 2U$ per day), and many parents cannot even cover the cost of transportation to take their suffering child to be treated at the nearest health centre.

UNICEF is now launching the second phase of its programme to fight against malnutrition: the Advanced Strategy of Detection and Treatment of Malnourished Children. The campaign’s approach is to move to the most isolated communities and identify and treat children suffering from malnutrition in their community. No less than 72 villages in the Savanes Region and 60 localities in the Kara Region are targeted, and in June, the campaign will be implemented in the Maritime Region.

The aim is also to educate mothers on malnutrition and the ways to prevent it. UNICEF is also adopting a community-based approach which consists of offering a package of services for the prevention of malnutrition:
• The supply of nutritional supplements; vitamin A and Albendazole in order to reduce micronutrient deficiencies among children under 5.
• Implementation of an awareness-raising campaign for pregnant and breast feeding women on good food practices and maternal feeding in order to reduce the malnutrition prevalence as quickly as possible.

To sum up, UNICEF’s global strategy to fight against malnutrition is based on three pillars:

• Continue to open nutritional rehabilitation centres ( 172 new openings planned) and strengthen the training of health agents,
• Extend a mobile campaign of detection and treatment of malnutrition,
• Promote the package of services.

Thanks to the financial support of donors such as ECHO, the set of interventions that UNICEF is providing will enable nearly 77,000 children to be treated, more than a million children to get nutritional supplements and more than 90,000 pregnant and feeding women to benefit from awareness-raising on breast-feeding and good food practices.

In the current context of an increase on the price of food products, UNICEF action becomes even more crucial. UNICEF works in close collaboration with the Government, WFP, FAO and NGOs in order to respond effectively to the nutritional crisis and to prevent the damages that a food crisis could cause in Togo. 

Una McCauley, Representative -
Essi Fafa Soulé, Communication Specialist - fsoulé
Aissa Mamadoultabou, Nutrionnist Specialist –



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