The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

UNICEF facing funding gap in Afghanistan for severely malnourished children

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) in Afghanistan has said it is facing a critical funding gap for ready-to-use-food for severely malnourished children in Afghanistan. Melanie Galvin, UNICEF Chief of Nutrition said in a video recording posted to Twitter that without additional funds to stock health facilities with this lifesaving treatment, thousands of children could die from severe acute malnutrition. She said 875,000 children will malnutrition this year in the country. “In short term, severe acute malnutrition is life threatening. In the long term it can have growth and mental development issues that affect a child throughout their lives,” said Galvin. She said ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) was the simple solution. “This is a highly efficient and effective, small package that we give to children, and they can be cured in as little as eight weeks,” she said. UNICEF supplies the packages to hospitals and health facilities across Afghanistan, but, according to Galvin, the agency is “facing a funding shortage and are unable to buy the RUTF that we need to treat the 875,000 SAM cases that we’re expecting in 2023,” said Galvin. We have an urgent funding gap of $21 million, she said. “With those funds, we need to fill the RUTF gap. We will also use it to train nutrition counselors, community health workers, nutrition nurses and doctors so that they can identify and treat these severely, acutely malnourished children. And we will also be able to scale up in dense urban environments that are underserved at this time,” she said. Severe acute malnutrition can be a death sentence, but it doesn’t have to be. With the right resources, we can stop it, she added. As of 28 February 2023, the UNICEF Afghanistan Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal for 2023 is 21 per cent funded. This includes flexible emergency funding from both public and private partners, which will continuously enable UNICEF to utilize resources to respond to rising and sudden needs. UNICEF was grateful to all public and private sector donors for the contributions received. UNICEF commends joint efforts by the donor community to develop and endorse principles to guide the continued provision of humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Afghanistan. UNICEF will continue to partner with donors to ensure sufficient resources are mobilized to address the needs of children and communities in Afghanistan. Urgent and critical funding gaps threaten to affect UNICEF’s ability to reach the most vulnerable children and families with lifesaving interventions, especially in nutrition; health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors. Mashal Noori

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.