Although Senegal has one of the most stable economies in West Africa, it also has high rates of poverty and unemployment—around half of the population lives below the poverty line. Senegal struggles with high rates of maternal and infant mortality, malaria, and other diseases, but the national health system is not equipped to provide services for those in need, especially in rural areas. These underserved populations are at greater risk for malnutrition and related illnesses.
In 2012, these already vulnerable populations were affected by the Sahel food crisis, which left 800,000 Senegalese at risk for malnutrition. Action Against Hunger responded to the emergency by establishing nutrition programs in Senegal. Our teams treated 85,000 malnourished individuals in Senegal and across the Sahel during the crisis. Although the food crisis is now less critical, many families in Senegal are still struggling, and we will continue to provide them nutritional support.
In addition to recovering from the recent food crisis, the country’s long-term health goals include reducing mother and infant mortality rates, and providing more vulnerable people with basic health services. As a part of this strategy, we are expanding our nutrition programs and strengthening the capacity of local government agencies to tackle malnutrition. Through these efforts, we will continue to help Senegal fight deadly hunger.