New data from the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) has revealed worsening nutrition for children in Burkina Faso, with more than 535 000 of those under the age of five suffering from acute malnutrition.
Of these, 6 500 children are severely malnourished, leaving them nine times more likely to die than those that are well-nourished, the report released on Tuesday said.
“The aggravating factors causing the nutritional situation of children to deteriorate are primarily linked to the displacement of populations due to insecurity, reduced access to livelihoods and reduced access to health care and nutrition,” UNICEF deputy representative in Burkina Faso James Magaju said.
“The coronavirus pandemic has had a brutal impact on households and their ability to provide for the basic needs of their children. Children are paying the highest price, facing a triple crisis, security, health and food.”
The town of Gorom-Gorom in the Sahel region and the Barsalogho site for internally displaced persons in the Centre-Nord region are the worst affected.
Equally alarming is the situation in the Dori, Gorgadji, Bourzanga and Fada N’Gourma communties, all of which have a high prevalence of global acute malnutrition, ranging from 12.5 percent to 13.6 percent. Children in the Barsalogho, Kongoussi, Ouahigouya, Kaya and Matiacoali communities also have concerning prevalence rates of acute malnutrition, ranging from 8.6 percent to 9.6 percent.
Areas where children are particularly affected by acute malnutrition are also those with the highest number of acutely food-insecure families, UNICEF said.
“This is essential because good nutrition for children, from their first days and months, protects them from disease and infection, and helps them to recover when they fall ill,” Magaju said.