250,000 children malnourished in South Sudan

Juba, Aug 5 (IANS) Unicef on Friday said that over 250,000 children were malnourished while 120,000 children under five years in South Sudan have already been treated in the past six months.

The low rates of exclusive breastfeeding and insecurity caused much of the malnutrition, Xinhua news agency quoted James Timothy Irwin, the Unicef South Sudan spokesperson as saying.

He said surveys in 2006 indicated that only 22 per cent of mothers in South Sudan exclusively breastfed their children.

“We have treated more than 120,000 children under five years old for severe malnutrition across South Sudan in the first six months of 2016. We have also revised our target for the number of children to be treated from 166,000 to more than 250,000,” Irwin said.

Unicef said violence in the country has prevented aid agencies from delivering live-saving assistance to thousands of malnourished children.

Irwin said they were working with the South Sudan Ministry of Health and partners to create awareness about dangers of malnutrition and promoting breastfeeding among mothers.

Rita Juan Demetry, Inspector of Nutrition at the Ministry of Health, said stress created by violence and hunger makes it difficult for breastfeeding mothers to care for their children, adding that collective efforts are being put in place to rescue those in dire situations.

“We are conducting counselling services to mothers and also have formed mothers support groups to advice breastfeeding mothers to raise healthy children. We really need to prevent malnutrition,” an official from the ministry of Health said.

–IANS

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