Refugee children in South Sudan face acute malnutrition: UNHCR reports

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[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Monday said that refugee children in South Sudan under the age of five years are at the risk of malnutrition and retardation due to poor nutrition. The world- leading refugee agency said, the refugee children under 5 years old in 8 refugee camps and settlements across South Sudan in December 2017 suffer acute malnutrition.

[Juba, South Sudan, TCT] – The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) on Monday said that refugee children in South Sudan under the age of five years are at the risk of malnutrition and retardation due to poor nutrition. The world- leading refugee agency said, the refugee children under 5 years old in 8 refugee camps and settlements across South Sudan in December 2017 suffer acute malnutrition.

In a press release seen by TCT, UNHCR Representative in South Sudan, Johann Siffointe, said more efforts and resources need to be invested in preventive measures.
“Both stunting and anemia can have long-term negative consequences for children and affect children’s immune systems as well as intellectual capacity and mental development if no immediate action is taken,” said Siffointe.

The refugee agency conducted a household survey that revealed more than 26,000 of refugee children were suffering from anemia. The study also looked into families’ coping mechanisms to offset lack of food. Although below the emergency verge of 15 percent, 6 percent prevalence indicated poor nutrition status of refugee children.

UNHCR has stated that over 80 percent of those polled during the survey stated resorting to negative coping strategies, including selling assets that would normally have not been sold, cash and food borrowings and reducing meal quantities and frequency.

“The solution to the problem of malnutrition among refugee children in South Sudan requires a holistic approach and should include, among others, provision of adequate healthcare, water and sanitation services, and expansion of livelihood activities to allow refugees to attain food security at a household level,” he noted.

However, the review also showed that overall nutrition status of refugee children has improved compared to previous years.

The UN refugee agency said that, together with its partners, it is implementing a number of initiatives and programs that are called to address the problem of malnourished refugee children.

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