By Taban Henry
The United Nations International Children Educational Fund (UNICEF) has on Tuesday received a sum of 35 million US dollars from the USAID to support South Sudan in the fight against malnutrition.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, Katherine Crawford, the USAID South Sudan Mission Director said that mothers across South Sudan will receive crucial ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat their children suffering from severe malnutrition, a life-threatening form of malnutrition.
This life-saving supplemental foods have been made available to UNICEF South Sudan through a $35 million contribution from USAID.
USAID is providing this additional support as South Sudan faces the highest levels of malnutrition among children on record, with 1.4 million children expected to suffer from the acute malnutrition in 2022.
This represents an approximately 30 percent increase in the number of children suffering from wasting or acute malnutrition compared to 2021. The funds will be used to provide over 350,000 cartons of RUTF to treat more than 350,000 children across South Sudan in 2022 and 2023.
“Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition in South Sudan is critical and we are actually aware of the needs in providing these supplies to treat malnourished children. The US government is pleased to continue to support the ongoing response to malnutrition and ensure the health and well-being of children across South Sudan,” Crawford said.
Meanwhile Hamida Lasseko, the UNICEF Country Representative said that the cartons of therapeutic food will be dispatched throughout the country to more that 1,300 nutrition centers where UNICEF and partners are screening children for malnutrition and providing therapeutic assistance to those in need.
“UNICEF has already treated almost 150,000 children for acute malnutrition in 2022, with this vital support, UNICEF and partners can ensure continued screening and treatment of children across the country and we are grateful to the United States for this support,” she said.
Lasseko stated that no child should have to suffer from malnutrition and UNICEF recognizes the need to increase focus on prevention. Additional funding from USAID will benefit more than one million mothers, fathers and caregivers of children below 24 months through maternal, infant and young child nutrition counseling services, giving them the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent their children from falling into malnutrition.
For her part the minister of Health Yalonda Awel Deng appreciated the support saying the food and nutrition equates to humanity, childhood growth and security citing that it’s the responsibility of South Sudanese to take care of food security.