UNICEF Highlights Child Malnutrition in Cameroon
Each year, at least 45,000 children die of causes related to malnutrition in Cameroon, according to UNICEF, IRIN reports.
The agency said it has had trouble getting attention for Cameroon's "silent emergency" because of other countries in the region that are dealing with refuges crises and other conflicts that often overshadow the "relatively stable" situation in Cameroon.
In Cameroon, almost 40% of children-about 350,000-are living with chronic malnutrition, according to UNICEF. About 115,000-about 12.6%-children younger than age five are living with global acute malnutrition (GAM) in northern Cameroon, according to data from UNICEF. The World Health Organization classifies a GAM between 10 and 14.9% as "serious," while a GAM of above 15% is classified as an emergency.
This year, UNICEF has received no funding for its humanitarian operations in Cameroon, IRIN reports. Ora Musu Clemens, UNICEF's representative in Cameroon, said, "Donors are more focused on development issues here in Cameroon. But within that future-oriented, development context you have a humanitarian situation that must be addressed." The agency is appealing for $650,000 to deal with malnutrition in 2009.
Denis Garnier, UNICEF-Cameroon nutrition specialist, said that the causes of malnutrition in Cameroon vary and include: a lack of basic healthcare, food insecurity, minimal access to child survival services and poor infant feeding practices. In addition, influxes of refugees from the Central African Republic and Chad exacerbate challenging living conditions in some parts of the country.
Augustin Ndongmo Nanfack, head of nutritional monitoring and evaluation with Cameroon's Health Promotion Department, said that for the first time the government plans to place nutrition coordinators around the country (IRIN, 4/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.