Fighting Child Malnutrition to Save Lives
Food Security Crises in the Sahel and Horn of Africa
The Sahel and Horn of Africa regions in West and East Africa are experiencing the worst food crises in recent years. 23 million people in 11 countries in the regions are affected by food insecurity and are facing malnutrition. Survival of millions of children across the Sahel and the Horn of Africa is threatened by a deadly combination of high food prices, armed conflict and crop failure.
Child Malnutrition—a Silent Killer
Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than 1/3 of all childhood deaths. Prices for basic food like rice, maize, wheat, oil, sugar and salt are skyrocketing, threatening food security, and forcing millions of the world's poorest children into severe malnourishment and starvation.
In much of the world, children with full bellies are still lacking the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow to their full potential. A malnourished child is less able to fight off illness, less likely to get the most out of schooling, and often becomes physically and mentally stunted. Malnutrition keeps children trapped in the cycle of poverty.
You Can Help Support Food Security for the Neediest Children
UNICEF depends on the generosity of donors to support child nutrition. Whether through an emergency feeding program during a disaster or famine or an established community clinic offering education and support to young mothers, UNICEF is committed to preventing and treating child malnutrition around the globe, helping every child get the nutrition needed for a healthy and promising future.
Related Nutrition and Food Security Links
May 20, 2013
Elena López lives in a one-room house with a dirt floor, no electricity and no running water. She grows fruits and vegetables, and she has chickens and a few other small animals. Yet one of her daughters suffers from acute malnutrition, and the other three have lower-than-average body weight. In Guatemala, nearly half of all children under 5 years old are chronically malnourished. Today, the López family is being visited by Faustina Vásquez, a community health worker supported by UNICEF.
May 1, 2013
In Haiti, 22 percent of children aged 6 to 59 months experience chronic malnutrition, with the highest rates in the poorest areas. One way UNICEF is tackling this health challenge is through nutritional interventions, like community meetings to inform families on what foods they can plant in their gardens and eat to help balance their diets. An important part of this initiative is the distribution of a multiple micronutrient powder. Using this powder can increase children’s chances of survival, especially during the first two years of life.
April 19, 2013
Chad experiences chronic drought among its harsh and erratic climatic conditions, and nearly 20 percent of the country’s children die before their fifth birthdays. During periods of drought, many children suffer from severe acute malnutrition. In response to the nutrition crisis in Chad and the Sahel Belt region, UNICEF and partners have scaled up services and facilities to treat the growing number of children affected by malnutrition. The number of treatment centers has doubled, and hundreds of tons of supplies have been delivered.