Nutrition Emergency Declared in Sierra Leone
MOYAMBA, SIERRA LEONE—Action Against Hunger | ACF International has launched an emergency response to treat more than 600 young children who have been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition in the Moyamba district of southern Sierra Leone. A recent nutritional survey carried out by the global humanitarian organization reveals that 3.8 percent of children in the region suffer from the life-threatening condition.
Action Against Hunger, in collaboration with District Health Authorities, is setting up two Stabilization Centers to treat the most severely malnourished children and is supporting seven outpatient treatment units in regional health centers. The organization is also rushing to establish an addition eight local centers for treatment and follow-up care in effected communities. ACF’s emergency programs include training for local doctors and nurses on the detection, prevention and treatment of malnutrition. Moyamba possesses little in the way of public health infrastructure, including few trained hospital staff to successfully treat childhood malnutrition.
“Sierra Leone still faces many challenges, despite the fact that it is no longer at war,” said Hiten Solanki of Action Against Hunger. “The causes of malnutrition in Sierra Leone are varied and can be linked to several factors, including: restricted access to safe drinking water, sanitation and quality health services; food insecurity due to pervasive poverty; and a lack of awareness among mothers on correct child feeding practices.”
Seven years after Sierra Leone’s protracted civil war ended, much of the country has not yet been rebuilt, and it remains one of the poorest nations in the world, ranking 180 out of 182 on the UNDP Human Development Index. Sierra Leone has among the highest rates of child mortality in the world.
ACF’s emergency intervention is supported by the UK Department for International Development’s West Africa Humanitarian Response Fund.