Nutrition services

Disruptions in nutrition services increase health risks for Afghan children: UNICEF

Disruptions in nutrition services increase health risks for Afghan children: UNICEF

KABUL: All over Afghanistan, children are increasingly vulnerable to disease and illness due to the deadly combination of growing malnutrition, an unprecedented food crisis, drought, disruption of health centers and nutrition, lack of access to and poor quality water and sanitation services, and a crippling winter, the United Nations Children’s Fund said.

As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, epidemics of deadly diseases put children’s lives at risk, UNICEF said in a statement.

So far, more than 66,000 cases of measles have been reported in children in 2021. There have also been outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea, malaria and dengue fever. Four cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (PVS-1) have been confirmed this year.

Harsh winter weather conditions, with temperatures already well below freezing in many areas, increase the risk of pneumonia and acute respiratory disease (ARI) as families struggle to heat their homes and keep their children safe. hot, the UN agency said.

Children living in high altitude areas are particularly vulnerable and need urgent life-saving assistance, including winter clothes, blankets and fuel for heating.

Some 25-30% of deaths of children under five are due to respiratory tract infections, with 90% of those deaths due to pneumonia, he added.

“We are approaching a critical moment for Afghan children, as winter brings with it a multitude of threats to their health,” said Abdul Kadir Musse, UNICEF representative in Afghanistan. ” There’s no time to lose. Without urgent and concerted action, including ensuring that we have the resources to deploy additional cash transfers and winter supplies, many children across the country will not live until spring.

Earlier this month, UNICEF launched its biggest single country appeal to meet the needs of more than 24 million people in Afghanistan, half of whom are children.

UNICEF’s appeal for US $ 2 billion aims to help avoid the collapse of health, nutrition, WASH, education and other vital social services for children and families.

Last month, UNICEF provided salaries for November to more than 10,000 frontline health workers in more than 1,000 health facilities and provided more than 1,000 health facilities with medical supplies and equipment. heating for the winter.

UNICEF estimates that one in two children under five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022 due to the food crisis and lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene services. Guided by humanitarian principles, UNICEF said it will prioritize life-saving interventions to treat children and provide other life-saving services.

UNICEF’s response will help ensure the continuity of essential services by preventing the collapse of essential systems for children, while preserving hard-won gains, including protecting the rights of women and girls, he said. declared.

UNICEF is counting on the support of the international community in facilitating sanctions waivers to ensure the timely delivery of goods and services to Afghan children, he added. (ANI)