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13 March 2010: UNICEF's Salma Zulfiqar reports on food shortages that are leading to increased malnutrition among children ...
in western Chad.
Tags:Food Shortage and Child Malnutrition in Chad,child malnutrition in Chad,Food Shortage and Child Malnutrition in Western C,food shortage in Chad,food shortage in Western Chad,malnourished children in Chad,malnutrition in Chad,unicef,united nations childrens fund
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Food Shortage and Child Malnutrition in Western Chad
Salma Zulfiqar: You are watching Unicef Television. It is a long hot journey through the dessert to get to the nearest market for villages in Chad’s Northwestern Kanem region. Changing weather patterns here have led to severe droughts, crippling local agriculture and causing chronic food shortages, according to local assessments the 2009 harvest was a disaster yielding only enough grain to feed the region for two weeks. Severe food shortages combined with unbalanced diets and poor child care practices have led to soaring malnutrition rights in Kanem.
Adam Abdulai, just over a year old, was in a critical condition when he was brought to this UNICEF supported therapeutic feeding centre in the district hospital of Mao. Here he’s receiving emergency care and is fed milk every three hours while being closely watched by health workers. A week after arriving at the center Adam’s health is steadily improving. His mother spoke of eating just porridge made from millet everyday during her pregnancy, leaving her weak after the birth and unable to care for her son properly. Adams mother and Grandmother stayed with him at the feeding center day and night.
Hawa Abdulai: For the last 10 years all of our hard work in our fields has produced nothing because there has been little rain, so we have to buy maize from the market.
Salma Zulfiqar: There are more than a dozen children admitted at this centre where emergency therapeutic feeding takes place every day.
Dr. Mekonyo Kolmain Gedeon: The severely malnourished children with secondary infections are referred to this centre. Those that don’t respond to treatment are also referred to this centre. If this centre did not exist the situation would be catastrophic for the district of Mao.”
Salma Zulfiqar: Over 8000 children have been treated at these centers since 2009, but the needs are still huge.
Dr. Marzio Babille: Unprecedented impact of lack of rainfalls has accelerated vulnerability in malnutrition rates.
Salma Zulfiqar: Tackling malnutrition in remote areas is key here, In the village of Barrah, 20 kilometers from Mao, a UNICEF supported clinic provides monitoring and treatment for severely malnourished children.
There’s been a 25 percent increase in the number of children brought in between January and February 2010. Zara Hassan’s comes here every week with her malnourished 2 year old to receive supplies of plumpy nut, a high protein, high energy peanut paste fortified with vitamins and minerals. The child is three kilos under weight and showing signs of improvement
Zara Hassan: Nothing grows here this land is taking over and there is nothing left, the soil has gone and the land is now covered with sand.
Salma Zulfiqar: The only patch of land left for farming is the local oasis. With virtually no local produce on the market, most food items are transported into Mao from other parts of the country leading to huge price increases – leaving thousands unable to feed their families and dependant on food aid. This is Salma Zulfiqar reporting for Unicef Television, Unite for Children.