Haiti – Humanitarian : The EU provided 2.5 million euros to fight against child malnutrition
In response to the alarming evolution of the humanitarian crisis in Haiti, UNICEF has received essential financial support of 2.5 million euros from the EU Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) to address the devastating effects of child wasting among, concentrated in the most vulnerable areas of the country.
This assistance comes at a critical time as Haiti faces a worrying situation, as reported in the latest SMART nutritional survey, which revealed alarming levels of wasting across the country where more than 100,000 children under the age of five are in urgent need of treatment for severe wasting (also known as severe acute malnutrition). The situation is particularly concerning in the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area and the Artibonite department.
The rapid deterioration of Haiti’s socio-economic context, marked by protracted violence and widespread insecurity, has led to an alarming rise in malnutrition rates across the country. Immediate action is imperative to prevent further deterioration in the nutritional situation and reduce malnutrition-related mortality.
“In times of crisis, nutrition is more important than ever. Every second counts. Malnutrition is deadly: a child suffering from severe acute malnutrition is nine times more likely to die than a well-nourished child,” says UNICEF Representative in Haiti, Bruno Maes.
UNICEF is firmly committed to tackling this nutritional crisis in Haiti, and to ensuring that the most vulnerable children receive the care and support they need to thrive in an already precarious environment.
“This funding from the EU Humanitarian aid will help us rapidly scale-up our response and improve early access to and quality of severe acute malnutrition treatment in the country,” he explains.
As part of this vital partnership, DG ECHO will actively support UNICEF Haiti’s efforts to strengthen early detection and referral of children suffering from wasting. This crucial support will also ensure that the most vulnerable children receive appropriate care in a timely manner.
A significant proportion of ECHO’s aid will be devoted to ensuring the provision of quality care to around 40,000 children under five suffering from severe wasting. This care will be provided through existing health systems and community platforms, ensuring an integrated approach to the treatment of child malnutrition.
Recognizing the fundamental importance of prevention, this partnership will work to strengthen wasting prevention measures. The aim is to ensure that women and children in Haiti have continued access to improved nutrition, appropriate care, and basic health and nutrition services, thereby helping to reduce the risk of malnutrition.
Effective management of the nutrition supply chain plays an essential role in the fight against malnutrition. This initiative will include measures to ensure an uninterrupted pipeline of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Products (RUTFs), which are vital for the treatment of children suffering from severe wasting.
With the aim of improving the overall response to the nutritional crisis, this partnership will also include efforts to strengthen nutrition information systems as well as coordination mechanisms at national and sub-national levels, ensuring better monitoring and a more effective response to the nutritional needs of Haitian children.
“UNICEF and the EU Humanitarian Aid are committed to scaling up and sustaining our efforts to reach more children with life-saving nutrition assistance. Our shared values motivate us to ensure that all children in Haiti enjoy their right to adequate nutrition,” M. Maes concludes.