High malnutrition rates in slums “alarming”

Published on 17 February 2009

With malnutrition rates as high as 25 percent in some areas, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) is alarmed at the condition of children under five in Djibouti's slum areas. "This is a chronic but silent emergency," Georges Gonzales, the acting UNICEF representative in Djibouti, told IRIN. [...] Community-based organisations were also involved, being trained by UNICEF to work within the health system. These community groups, mostly women, do simple screenings to identify children with malnutrition symptoms and are trained to provide ready-to-use therapeutic food. "They are our first line of defence," said a medical official. In one of the health centres supported by UNICEF, with WFP and WHO and support from USAID, dozens of women with malnourished children come for feeding and screening, said Madina Ali, a doctor.

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