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USAID offers UNICEF $35M to address malnutrition

USAID offers UNICEF $35M to address malnutrition
USAID/South Sudan Mission Director Kate Crawford at UNICEF's warehouse in Juba on October 4, 2022. Credit//USAID South Sudan

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has offered $35 million to the United Nations International Children emergency fund (UNICEF) to fight malnutrition among children in South Sudan.

The funds will be used to provide over 350,000 cartons of RUTF to treat more than 350,000 children across South Sudan in 2022 and 2023.

According to USAID, South Sudan faces the highest levels of malnutrition among children on record, with 1.4 million children expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022.

“Addressing food insecurity and malnutrition in South Sudan is critical, and we are acutely aware of the needs in providing these supplies to treat malnourished children,” said USAID South Sudan Mission Director Kate Crawford  n Juba on Tuesday.

UNICEF said cartons of the life-saving supplemental therapeutic food will be dispatched throughout the country to more than 1,300 nutrition centers where UNICEF and partners are screening children for malnutrition and providing therapeutic assistance to those in need.

“UNICEF has already treated almost 150,000 children for acute malnutrition in 2022,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF South Sudan Representative.

“With this vital support, UNICEF and partners can ensure continued screening and treatment of children across the country and we are grateful to the United States for this support.”

The agency added that the funding will also benefit more than one million mothers, fathers, and caregivers of children below 24 months through maternal, infant, and young child nutrition counselling services, giving them the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent their children from falling into malnutrition.

“No child should have to suffer from malnutrition, and UNICEF recognizes the need to increase focus on prevention.” Lasseko asserted.

The funds are part of more than $706 million provided by the American people to the people of South Sudan over the past year.