UNICEF strives to provide children in Yemen with the nutritional support they need for their growth and development

UNICEF Yemen/2018

The Challenge

In Yemen, children's nutrition is increasingly threatened with consequences throughout the lifecycle and acute malnutrition is now at serious levels across the country.

Only 15 per cent of children are eating the minimum acceptable diet for survival, growth and development.

The high levels of malnutrition are compounded by lack of food, poor feeding practices at home, sub-optimal functioning of the health, water and sanitation systems, disease outbreaks and deteriorating economy. Around 80 per cent of Yemenis are estimated to be in debt and struggling to pay for food, water, transportation and vital health services. With the deepening economic crisis, 1.8 to 2.8 million children are at risk of being pushed into acute food insecurity and many more children could fall into life-threatening severe acute malnutrition. 

Almost 2 million cases of children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition are estimated, including 360,000 from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

The nutritional status of women of child bearing age is also a matter of significant concern in Yemen. Since 1997, there has been no improvement in the nutritional status of women and almost a quarter of women are malnourished. Maternal malnutrition increases the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes including obstructed labour, premature or low-birth-weight babies and postpartum haemorrhage.

The Solution

UNICEF Yemen/2017
A baby boy receiving treatment in one of UNICEF-supported therapeutic feeding centers.

UNICEF has accelerated its nutrition interventions to prevent and treat severe acute malnutrition in children in existing health facilities and using Mobile Teams to access hard to reach areas.

In 2018, UNICEF treated over 347,000 children for Severe Acute Malnutrition thereby saving their lives.

  • With the help of partners, UNICEF continues to scale up the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition programme. In 2018, UNICEF treated over 347,000 children for Severe Acute Malnutrition thereby saving their lives. Over 345,000 severe acutely malnourished children under five were admitted to therapeutic feeding care and 3.8 million children were given micronutrients supplementation.
  • A total of 275 new Outpatient Therapeutic Programmes (OTPs) have been established since the beginning of 2018, and now over 83 per cent of the health facilities are functioning as OTPs across the country.
  • In 2018, 121 MTs provided a package of health and nutrition services to mothers and children mainly in areas lacking health facilities, hard to reach areas and locations with displaced communities.
  • So far in 2019, over one million pregnant and lactating women were educated on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), in the effort to improve survival, growth, and development of children. A total of 1.7 million pregnant and lactating women received IYCF counselling in 2018.
  • In terms of nutrition supplies, a total of 373 tons or 433,320 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) were delivered up to July 2019. 


UNICEF Yemen/2018
A child being screened for malnutrition.

In 2019, UNICEF will continue its emergency nutrition prevention and response activities to reach
294,000 malnourished children under five years of age with therapeutic care.


These resources on nutrition represent just a small selection of materials produced by UNICEF and its partners in Yemen.