National, News

Over one million children malnourished- report

By Charles K Mark


Aid agency seeks partnerships as malnutrition cases rise and more people are exposed to fatal disease outbreaks in South Sudan.

The medical agency, Doctors without Borders, urges a major shift in humanitarian aid delivery as South Sudan faces recurring epidemic outbreaks.

According to the health agency, one out of every ten children in South Sudan dies before five years old, mostly from preventable diseases.

More than 75 percent of these deaths are caused by malaria, diarrhea, or pneumonia.

MSF reports that the current high levels of malnutrition increase mortality rates among children under 5, with approximately 1.65 million children acutely malnourished.

“Children affected by malnutrition are at a higher risk of dying from preventable-vaccine diseases, including meningitis, measles, yellow fever, cholera, and malaria,” Dr. Jatinder Singh, MSF Medical Coordinator in South Sudan, said.

The latest Integrated Food Security and Nutrition Phase Classification (IPC) report found that 56% of the population is currently facing acute food insecurity, classified as a crisis or worse.

“Malnutrition lowers immunity, making diseases easier to catch. It’s even worse for children living in refugee and internally displaced camps where contagious diseases spread due to malnutrition, overcrowding, and poor water and sanitation,” Dr. Singh added.

More than 700,000 people have crossed the border since the Sudan Civil War began, according to MSF.

Also, 1.5 million South Sudanese live in internally displaced camps due to recurring floods and internal conflicts.

The medical charity is worried about incomplete routine vaccinations as a result of forced displacement, putting both the displaced and host populations at risk.

The agency is pushing for mass immunization campaigns in transit centers and camps to prevent the spread of contagious diseases while reducing future administrative and logistical costs.

If widely and well implemented, the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI), launched by the World Health Organization (WHO), could be a game changer for South Sudan.

Evidence shows that increased vaccination coverage protects children from vaccine-preventable diseases while also contributing to a lower rate of malnutrition.

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