YEMEN Press Agency

Ministry of Health: Malnutrition threatens 4,700,000 children in Yemen

SANAA, March 12 (YPA) – Saudi-led coalition aggression against Yemen has caused a significant rise in the number of people suffering from malnutrition, neonatal mortality, children, pregnant mothers and food insecurity in Yemen.

The years of aggression and economic blockade have led to growing food insecurity and acute malnutrition threatened the lives of half of children under the age of five this year.

The humanitarian crisis continues to inflict severe damage on children, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization ( WHO).

Malnutrition causes harm to the child’s physical and mental development, especially during the first two years of life. These damages are often permanent and lead to persistent situations of poverty and unequal opportunities.

According to a report issued by the Ministry of Public Health and Population, 4.7 million children under the age of five, including 360,000 suffering from acute malnutrition, and 2.3 million malnourished mothers.

According to the report, the economic blockade has increased the suffering of malnutrition, putting more than 21 million citizens in need of humanitarian assistance.

More than nine million people on the brink of famine, according to WFP and FAO.

The reported noted that two million children suffered from malnutrition and half a million children were severely malnourished, noting   that a child dies every 10 minutes from preventable causes, according to UNICEF.

The report confirmed that 265,000 children died each year from one of the five diseases of “visionary inflammation, diarrhoea, measles, malaria, malnutrition”, as well as the lack of nurseries in many rural, peripheral, central and reference hospitals.

According to the report, 18 million people are food insecure, of whom 8.4 million are worldwide classified as severely food insecure.

Moreover, the report also noted that 2.6 million children under the age of five are malnourished out of 5.5 million children, 47 percent of whom are severely malnourished.

The report indicated that 86 percent of children under the age of five suffer from Anaemia, 46 percent suffer from stunting and 80,000 have mental disorders due to aircraft sounds and rocket explosions.

According to the report, every two hours, six babies die from deteriorating health-care services and 65 out of 1,000 children under the age of five die due to some kind of disease.

For his part, Ministry of Public Health and Population spokesman Dr. Najib al-Qubati explained that the  Saudi-led aggression and its economic blockade contributed significantly to the high rate of malnutrition in Yemen.

He noted that international organizations have done little to address malnutrition in Yemen, especially in children and women, and have not provided ventilators or equipped intensive care to deal with critical conditions for malnourished patients.

The Ministry of Health had expanded the Community Treatment Programme for Acute Malnutrition in outpatient clinics by 371 to 3,597 outpatient clinics , he added.

Al-Qubati said that nutritional surveillance centres have been opened, rehabilitated, and increased from 38 to 114 and provide treatment for acute, severe and moderate malnutrition cases for 1,800,000 children and 667,000 women.