Child malnutrition surges in Haiti during the pandemic: UNICEF | UN News

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Compared with last year, the number of severe acute child malnutrition will more than double this year.

As the country fights the coronavirus pandemic, the number of severe acute child malnutrition in Haiti is expected to more than double this year. Surge of violenceAccording to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and declining resources.

Jean Goff, UNICEF’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean, said that more than 86,000 children under the age of 5 may be affected, compared with 41,000 reported last year.

Severe acute malnutrition is considered a life-threatening disease. In the lower-risk category, acute malnutrition among children under 5 in Haiti has increased by 61%, and approximately 217,000 children are expected to suffer from the disease this year, compared with 134,000 last year.

“I am sad to see so many children suffering from malnutrition,” Gough said after a week-long visit to Haiti. “Some people cannot recover unless they receive treatment on time.”

According to UNICEF, overall, about 4.4 million of the more than 11 million inhabitants of Haiti lack adequate food, including 1.9 million children.

Gough told the Associated Press during a recent visit to a hospital in the southern city of Les Cases that UNICEF has only one month’s supply left to provide a special food paste for children in need. Seeking $3 million.

Officials say the pandemic has also disrupted health services, and the child immunization rate has dropped from 28% to 44%, depending on the vaccine. As health workers prepare for the anticipated measles outbreak this year, this reduction has led to an increase in diphtheria cases.

UNICEF pointed out that unvaccinated children are also more likely to die of malnutrition.

‘She never eats’

Lamir Samedi, a nurse who works at a community health center in the southern town of Saint-Jean-du-Sud, said the goal is to vaccinate 80% of the children in the area, but they have not yet reached 50%.

Among the children in the hospital was 11-month-old Denise Joseph. After being diagnosed with tuberculosis two weeks ago, he was lying quietly in a crib in Les Cayes.

“She never eats,” her grandmother Mary-Ross Emil said, because her mother was also sick and she had been taking care of the baby. Emil is trying to feed the baby. She said that she hardly harvested any beans, corn or potatoes this year.

UNICEF official Goff said she was frustrated by the number of malnourished people and the decline in childhood immunization rates. She said that more outreach services are needed because there are not enough people going to the community health center.

The 27-year-old Franceline Mileon was the first visitor to the health center. She brought her young children after hearing a nearby health officer holding a megaphone announcing that the vaccination plan had started. She was sitting on the bench, caring for her child while waiting for the nurse to weigh her.

Overall, UNICEF stated that it needed nearly $49 million this year to meet Haiti’s humanitarian needs, but added that almost no pledges were made for that amount. The agency’s US$5.2 million will be used for nutrition and US$4.9 million for health, including child immunization.



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