Afghanistan: hunger, disease and cold threaten children warns UNICEF

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Harsh winter weather conditions, with temperatures already well below 0 ° C in many areas, as families struggle to heat their homes and keep their children warm, increase the risk of pneumonia and acute respiratory illness (ARD) .

Children living in high altitude areas are particularly vulnerable and need urgent help to save their lives, including winter clothes, blankets and fuel for heating.

Over 66,000 cases of measles reported in children

Some 25-30% of deaths in children under five are due to respiratory tract infections, and 90% of these deaths are due to pneumonia.

” There’s no time to lose. Without urgent and concerted action – including ensuring that we have the resources to deploy additional cash transfers and supplies for the winter – many children across the country will not live to see spring, ”the representative said. UNICEF Afghanistan Acting Abdul Kadir Musse.

As the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Afghanistan, outbreaks of life-threatening diseases are putting children’s lives at risk. Pneumonia, acute respiratory illnesses, measles, acute watery diarrhea and other preventable illnesses affect children as acute malnutrition puts millions of people at risk.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), more than 66,000 cases of measles have been reported so far in children in 2021. Outbreaks of acute watery diarrhea, malaria and dengue have also occurred. Four cases of wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV-1) have been confirmed this year.

PAM / Julian Frank

Women wait for their children to be screened for malnutrition at a clinic in Balkh province, Afghanistan.

Payment of salaries to more than 10,000 health workers in November

In addition, the UN agency estimates that one in two children under five will suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022 due to the food crisis and insufficient access to water, sanitation and health services. ‘hygiene.

Last November, UNICEF was able to treat more than 37,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition and distribute cash as well as winter clothes to the provinces where the poverty rate is the highest and the winter conditions the worst. more severe.

The Fund also provided essential primary health care services, including immunizations, through health facilities and mobile health and nutrition teams.

Nearly 105,000 children aged six months to five years have been vaccinated against measles and 8.5 million children, including more than 2 million living in previously inaccessible areas, have been affected by the national polio campaign, thanks to the UN agency.

More globally, UNICEF last month paid November salaries to more than 10,000 frontline health workers and provided medical supplies and winter heating equipment to more than 1,000 health facilities.

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