China has made a donation worth $1 million (about R16m) to help the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) assist severely malnourished children in Senegal as part of its response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement on Wednesday, Unicef said the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the risk of malnutrition among children due to deteriorating food quality, lack of access to nutrition and other health-care services.
The prevalence of chronic malnutrition is lower in Senegal than in many other West African countries yet still affects 17% of children under five years, reaching its peak of 23% among children of 24 to 35 months.
Approximately 17,355 children under the age of 5 in the northern and eastern regions of Senegal will benefit from this donation.
Senegal is one of six countries to receive the support of Unicef–China co-operation against Covid-19 through the South-South Co-operation Assistance Fund mechanism.
Unicef’s representative in Senegal, Silvia Danailov, thanked China for mobilising the important aid to support their efforts alongside Senegal, noting that the donation will help improve children’s survival.
Chinese ambassador to Senegal Xiao Han said China was proud of establishing partnerships with the UN to support other countries.
“China is committed to working closely with Unicef to ensure a smooth implementation of this funding for the benefit of Senegalese children,” Xiao said.
Unicef said it will continue to support the Senegalese government’s efforts to deal with malnutrition, by ensuring the provision of nutritional inputs, such as ready-to-use therapeutic foods and essential medicines.