21/06/2012 - Niger is one of the countries most affected by malnutrition with 15.8 million inhabitants of which almost 60 per cent live below the poverty line. UNICEF declared that nearly 394,000 under-five children will suffer from imminent and life-threatening severe acute malnutrition (SAM), if adequate treatment is not provided. A severely undernourished child has 9 times the risk of dying compared to a child who is not undernourished.
UNICEF, as cluster lead for Nutrition, has learned from the 2010 crisis and has reinforced effective interventions such as the early warnings in the fall of 2011 and coordinated nutrition response mechanisms. The robust network of nutrition treatment centres built in Niger is working, saving lives and contributing to decrease malnutrition rates in the country.
At country level, UNICEF and its partners invite families, populations and communities to visit health centres with their children for early diagnosis of undernutrition and access to other health care services such as immunisation and malaria treatment.
The management of severely malnourished children includes outpatient services - children receive a weekly allowance in Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) in order to be treated at home. Once a week they are weighed and measured, so progress is closely monitored. In addition, moderately malnourished children (approximately 860,000 in 2012) receive ready to use supplementary foods (RUSF) or specialised flours.
A local production unit of RUTF is run by the Société de Transformation Alimentaire (STA), a factory providing UNICEF and EU’s programmes with the entire supply of Plumpy Nut of the country.
ECHO funds have contributed to UNICEF and its partners’ efforts to meet the increasing needs of women and children by strengthening the flow of life-saving supplies and services to health centres and therapeutic feeding centres.
"UNICEF nutritional programme in Niger has received a contribution of EUR 5,423,000.00 from ECHO since 2010"