The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.
HealthNational

Over 2 million children expected to face acute malnutrition in Afghanistan

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said that over 2 million Afghan boys and girls are expected to acute malnutrition in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Doctors Without Borders in its most recent tweet has said that the number of malnourished children brought for treatment to Boost provincial hospital in Helmand’s Lashkargah has increased by 32 percent comparing to last year. Speaking to journalists in a news conference in New York late Thursday last week, Fran Equiza, the Representative of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the country said that nearly 90 percent of the population in Afghanistan was on the brink of poverty and children bear the brunt of it. “Because, in what is a deeply troubled country – grappling with humanitarian catastrophe, climate-related disasters, and egregious human rights abuses – too many people have forgotten that Afghanistan is a children’s rights crisis,” he said, warning that the situation is getting worse. This year, some 2.3 million Afghan boys and girls are expected to face acute malnutrition. Of this number, 875,000 will need treatment for severe acute malnutrition, a life-threatening condition, according to UNICEF. Furthermore, around 840,000 pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are likely to experience acute malnutrition, jeopardizing their ability to give their babies the best start in life. Equiza added that although fighting has mostly stopped, decades of conflict mean that every day, children’s rights are violated “in the most appalling ways”. Meanwhile, roughly 1.6 million Afghan children – some as young as six – are trapped in child labor, working in dangerous conditions just to help their parents put food on the table. “And where education used to be a symbol of hope, children’s right to learn is under attack,” Mr. Equiza added. With needs growing every day, he called for greater support from the international community, noting that UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children Appeal is only 22 percent funded. Meanwhile, Médecins Sans Frontières or Doctors Without Borders (MSF) in its most recent report has informed of increasing number of malnourished children in its inpatient therapeutic feeding centers in Helmand, where the organization is supporting the province’s provincial hospital. “MSF teams in Lashkargah are witnessing alarming numbers of malnourished patients. Over the past four months we have treated 1,061 children in our inpatient therapeutic feeding centers: an increase of 48% and 23% compared to 2021 and 2022 respectively,” MSF said. According to MSF, difficulties people face in finding wellresourced medical facilities near their homes combined with severe economic crises are exacerbating the problem. Many Afghans struggle to afford even basic food items, let alone transportation costs for hospital visits. The organization is suggesting that patients must be able to receive treatments closer to their homes, asking local authorities and international donors for significant and urgent investment to strengthen service delivery and improve the infrastructure of medical facilities at district levels in the country. S.Raqib

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.