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Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:03 - Updated Tue, 30 Jun 2020 13:03

UNICEF helps fight malnutrition in southern Angola

Luanda - UNICEF has made available over 9.600 boxes of nutritional supplements for the provinces of Cuando Cubango, Cunene, Huíla and Namibe, to support nutritional response interventions resulting from periods of cyclical droughts in southern Angola.

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The different nutritional supplements will be use to reinforce the provincial programmes to combat malnutrition and the activities that have been developed by the local governments, particularly in this period of response to covid-19, benefiting more than 10,000 children under the age of five.

According to the press note of the institution that was sent to ANGOP, UNICEF is supporting the Angolan Government, mainly the country’s southern region, with the development of response packages of activities to face the emergency on the sector of health and nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, child protection, change of behaviour and community involvement.

According to that international organisation, these activities rely on a larger strategy to establish an emergency response link with a local social development agenda.

It indicates that, from January to June, more than 300 health technicians were trained to provide treatment and malnutrition services and advice on infant feeding practices and micronutrient supplementation for parents and teachers of young children.

In 2019, the support from the United Nations Central  Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and UNICEF, as well as the NGOs World Vision, Action for Rural Development (ADRA) and People In Need contributed to protect about 232,000 underage children from malnutrition, through the intervention of more than a thousand community agents and trained health technicians in the provinces of Cunene, Huíla, Bié and Namibe.

Of the number of children diagnosed, more than 23,000 were treated for moderate acute malnutrition and at least 7,800 children treated for severe acute malnutrition, in 28 Special Nutrition Units and 210 Health Units with outpatient treatment programmes equipped with nutritional and material supplies diagnostic.

It adds that the activities carried out in the south of the country have had the financing of the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the Banco de Fomento de Angola (BFA) bank and the Government of Japan, whose support, in addition to of serving to buy nutritional supplements, provides to ensure that sixteen thousand children under five years of age have access to the prevention and screening of acute malnutrition.

Twelve thousand school children benefit from deworming and micronutrient supplementation.

Angola is a country prone to cyclical droughts that mainly affect the southern provinces and more severely in the semi-arid areas of Cunene, Huíla and Namibe. The drought in the south has been exacerbating, as the rains of the last year have been scarce and irregular, and, in the same way in the last three years, the highest temperatures of the last 45 years have been registered.

Data indicate that more than fifty six thousand families are in a situation of food insecurity in 2020, due to the drought experienced in 2019, and, according to the latest nutritional survey carried out in the provinces of Huíla and Cunene, the prevalence of acute malnutrition in children under the age of five is 13.6% in Huíla and 12.9% in Cunene.

It is estimated that 3% of these children in Huíla and 1.7% in Cunene have their lives at risk due to severe acute malnutrition.

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