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Doctors of the World: Child Malnutrition Rates in Northern Mali exceed International Alert Threshold.
Doctors of the World intensifies its medical and nutritional program in the regions of Gao and Kidal.
In response to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, Doctors of the World has conducted a vast vaccination campaign in the regions of Gao and Kidal in Northern Mali. In total, nearly 19,000 children have been immunized these last 3 months. In addition, Doctors of the World organized for the first time since the outbreak of the conflict, a malnutrition screening in this region. The children under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition were treated.
The results of this screening are alarming: “In the region of Kidal, the global acute malnutrition rate has doubled, from 6% in 2011 to 13.5% in 2012” says Olivier Vandecasteele, the project coordinator at Doctors of the World in Mali. “We are now well above the 10% alert threshold set by the WHO. It’s an additional crisis for the pastoralist population in the North of Mali who are usually less affected by malnutrition.”
Close to 300 children have been diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition, which is the most severe type of malnutrition. If left untreated, it can result in death. « We must redouble efforts to fight malnutrition » warns Olivier Vandecasteele. « Even though the country is greatly affected by the food crisis, the nutritional tragedy which hundreds of children are facing can be avoided ». In response, Doctors of the World is planning to launch a targeted distribution of supplementary food. “It will cover all children between 6 to 59 months as well as pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers in the region of Kidal. It is crucial that we limit new cases of malnutrition from developing,” explains Olivier Vandecasteele.