“Malnutrition silently stalks children across the Sahel, and 2018 has been particularly severe,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa. “We have been able to deliver the supplies and medicines these children need to survive, but equally important are investments in preventive measures and early detection to stop children from getting sick in the first place. This was the shift we implemented this year and it produced encouraging results.”
The UN agency attributed the high malnutrition levels in the Sahel region to multiple factors including land and crop degradation, periodic droughts and weather-related shocks, poverty, limited access to basic food staples and essential services, and population growth.
Poirier warned that the children suffering from malnutrition were also at risk of getting other diseases.
“When children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, they are more vulnerable to illnesses such as malaria and waterborne diseases,” she said.