Clémence is holding onto her soft toy Dalmatian Puppy, her mother gave her for Christmas. Children all over the world hold on to their cuddly toys for comfort in unfamiliar places. Clémence is no different.
I meet her and her mother, Anita, in the intensive nutrition unit of the pediatric hospital in Bangui, the Central African Republic. 29,250 children under 5 years suffering from acute malnutrition are admitted for therapeutic care. The principal referral centre of the capital is crowded with children that have fallen ill with the most severe and deadly form of malnutrition. There is little noise from these children: too ill to play, too weak to express discomfort.
At two and a half years old and 5.5 kg, Clémence is barely above the weight of a new born baby. I learned how she came here as her mother, Anita, props her up in her lap. A few weeks back she was a strong and joyful little child playing in the streets near her home. All changed when she caught malaria and lost appetite fighting the fever. Weakened by illness, she developed diarrhea and quickly lost weight to the point that her parents got very worried and brought her into the hospital, where they learned their child was suffering from severe malnutrition.
Severe malnutrition is one of the greatest challenges to child survival in the world today. Affecting 16 million children worldwide and responsible for up to two million child deaths each year, it is the most lethal form of malnutrition.
Clémence is clinging onto her Dalmatian toy when the nurse tries to move it to take the temperature. Her breathing is very quick and she seems to drift in and out of sleep. She is unable to move her head up and look around. Having worked with ACF for many years, the intensive nutrition units are the hardest, saddest places to visit. No child should ever fall ill with Severe malnutrition. It is the epitome of an unjust world: a place that produces more food that it can eat and has the knowledge to treat infections these children can no longer fight.
However, nutrition units are also places of hope. Last year 87% of children brought to our nutrition clinics in CAR recovered and returned home. ACF cured more than three million children around the world last year alone. Effective community treatment, equipped with products like therapeutic foods, reach children living in the most marginalised and conflict ridden areas of the world. Where the illness is extremely severe and complicated by infection as it was with Clémence, inpatient treatment with the supervision of ACF doctors and nurses around the clock is the only option. CAR has experienced high levels of violence that have devastated its health system and increased poverty, so only few referral centres are available.
Talking to Anita, a law student, she was hopeful that the treatment was working and there were some signs that her child was getting better. Trying to feed her was not easy, as Clémence was spilling much of the therapeutic milk and having difficulties even swallowing. Feeding ill children is a painfully slow and delicate process as any parents know. Here it is an act of desperation to save a child. My presence was not helping as Clémence was distracted. I left the hospital where Anita was hopeful that her daughter would gain weight and get back her appetite so they could return home. I felt hopeful that Clémence’s mother was right.
Arriving back in the UK I had some horrible, sad news from Central African Republic. Clémence died from severe malnutrition only days after I left her bedside. Her mum was doing her best. In a country that has high rates of illness, only few health care workers are at hand to help her to detect the early signs of malnutrition and get treatment. This Mother couldn’t prevent her baby from getting regular bouts of malaria or the diarrhea that followed and weakened her little girl, and led to the severe malnutrition. She is one case in about 700 malnutrition-related deaths per year in CAR.
We do save lives in our projects every day. Sadly we failed Clémence. Despite our best effort, too many children still do not make it through severe malnutrition. In 2015 Action Against Hunger treated 1,560,000 children: more than any previous year. We have to do even more. Anita, her story and pictures serve me as a reminder to raise awareness of the unspeakable injustices of malnutrition so many children in CAR and worldwide, battle with day in day out.
Action Against Hunger are part of a massive scale up and work with communities, donors and doctors to find children long before they are severely malnourished, to expand treatment into many more health centers in order for malnourished children to stand the best chance to be cured. Referral centers such as at the Bangui paediatric hospital partner with us to deal with overwhelming numbers of malnourished children.
An aid worker recounts entering Madaya and discusses the power of the graphic visuals that have emerged
The Syrian town of Madaya, along the border with Lebanon, was pitch dark by the time aid workers arrived on Jan. 11. It took more than eight hours for their convoy to travel from Damascus; the town lacked electricity and it had begun to rain.
He took a picture and “just realized that for a very, very long time, we have been the only physical persons that have been there from outside, able to listen to their problems, able to listen to their suffering. It was very, very important, even if we didn’t really have the solutions to all of their problems,” link
A pilot programme supported by UNICEF and partners has started leveraging the care of mothers to fight malnutrition. The programme distributes bracelets to monitor the growth of their child. It tells the mothers how to read the results, and what action, if any, to take. link
Some photos that caught the attention of Christian Aid’s Communication Team in 2014 featuring the people and a glimpse of their story. See and Read more here
The problem of widespread undernutrition: Around 165 million pre school children suffer from chronic undernutrition. Because of inadequate food intake, repeated infection or both they fail to grow at the same rate as healthy, well-fed children.
In 2004, 2008 and 2012, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre held a series of global conferences. At each, an expert panel, including four Nobel Laureates, looked at twelve major global challenges, deliberating the question: “If you had $75 billion for worthwhile causes, where should you start?” read more
BENTIU, SOUTH SUDAN – MAY 2014: An Internally displaced girl stares at a severely malnourished government soldier, Jay Thiep, who was found unconscious near the airport when he was brought to the clinic at the base of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in Bentiu, South Sudan, May 6, 2014. Thiep was thought to have been hiding without food for roughly three weeks in the bush following a retreat of government soldiers from Bentiu. Roughly twenty-five thousand IDPs live at the UNMISS base in Bentiu, and one million Southern Sudanese have been displaced from their homes since the start of the civil war in December 2013, pitting ethnic Nu’er against Dinka. Because of continued fighting, many have been unable to plant crops to harvest the next season, and aid organizations have been unable to preposition food in anticipation of the rainy season. According to the United Nations official coordinating humanitarian aid in South Sudan, if the civil war doesn’t stop, and the country does not receive international aid, South Sudan will face the worst starvation in Africa since the 1980s, when hundreds of thousands of people died in Ethiopia’s famine. see more Photograph by Lynsey Addario/Reportage by Getty Image
Seven months after Sierra Leone’s first Ebola case, the Turtle Islands have now become dependent on food aid. By /Tommy Trenchard/Al Jazeera
The portraits in this post were taken to to support my friend Lauren Bush Lauren’s charity, FEED Projects. Lauren and I dreamt up a concept for the shoot over coffee. We would capture portraits of FEED’s celebrity ambassadors and influencers in a studio setting that felt classic, natural, and share a moment of intimacy between friends or business partners. It would be the first major advertising campaign effort for FEED, and although grassroots, the final images would live in a lot of major places, including Vanity Fair, Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, and Elle, just to name a few.
Wondering why you should care about a conference on nutrition? We’ll explain…
On November 19, ministers from 193 countries will meet in Rome for the first time in 22 years to look at ways to tackle malnutrition.
At the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2), they’ll be asked to adopt two documents: the Rome Declaration on Nutrition and the Framework for Action on Nutrition.
Progress in tackling malnutrition since the first ICN in 1992 has been weak and patchy because of inadequate commitment and leadership, financial constraints, weak human and institutional capacities, the depletion of natural resources exacerbated by climate change, and a lack of appropriate accountability mechanisms.
The good news is that today the world is much wealthier than it was 22 years ago, and the knowledge of what works and what action is needed is far more advanced. As momentum on nutrition builds internationally, this conference presents an historic once-in-a-generation opportunity for strong political commitments that could help end child hunger.
Read more: link
photographer Daniel Berehulak visting Inpatient Therapeutic Feeding Centre (ITFC) wards, at the Bost Hospital, a Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) assisted hospital in Lashkar Gah, in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Read more: Daniel Berehulak the Freelancer’s Way
A South Sudanese child displaced by the fighting in Malakal, and suffering from malnutrition, cries as he is washed by a nurse at a feeding center run by Medicins sans Frontiers (MSF) in Kodok, Fashoda county, on May 28, 2014. (Reuters/Andreea Campeanu)
Fighting breeds hunger.
In South Sudan, thousands have been killed in political and ethnic fighting since December. The fighting has disrupted much of daily life and left nearly 7 million at risk of hunger and 3.7 million facing starvation, according to the United Nations. Last week, Peter Biro of the International Rescue Committee visited the northern town of Ganyliel, South Sudan. Link
Now, fewer than 1,000 remain in the city, the rest having fled amid a veritable pogrom carried out in reprisal for atrocities committed by an alliance of mainly Muslim rebels who had seized power in March 2013.
Those left behind are stuck in ghettos or makeshift camps, protected by African Union troops but still surrounded by units of hostile anti-balaka militiamen. Link
This series on the Action Against Hunger Webbed, has been developed off the back of a Trip I posed on this blog earlier I travel across the region to determine how many children are malnourished and how many of those are able to access treatment. We walked house-to-house visiting families, to find out what barriers mothers face and what solutions could work. See the resulting pictures and video by following this link as well as full report following here. All material
Copyright S Hauenstein Swan
When her small twins Ousseina and Alassane got thinner and thinner, their mother Zali brought them to the local health centre in the small village of Grado in Niger. Both twins were suffering from severe acute malnutrition, which can be fatal if left untreated. Photo Copyright S.Hauenstein Swan
For the first time in a decade, the number of children suffering from hunger and malnutrition has risen, threatening the substantial progress made in child health and education in the developing world.
the stroy of a little boy, in niger, and his home in niger. how he is found ill with malnutrition and how he is getting treatment from Save the Children link
Adjitti Mahamat ,40, cooks the one big meal a day for as many as ten children, including Kadija Ahmat 2, (on her back). Kassira Village, Guera province, Chad. 13/2/12 read on what is on the menu for the rest of the week
In some parts of west Africa, water levels have become dangerously low and pastureland has disappeared. The UN estimates more than 13 million people are at risk of serious food shortages. Here, Chadian women in the Bahr-el-Ghazal and Guera provinces speak about the poor harvest over the last few years and the difficulties they have in feeding their children. Photographer Andy Hall link
Drought continues to threaten the lives of as many as 13 million people living in the Horn of Africa and many are struggling to continue their pastoral lifestyle. Photographer Alejandro Chaskielberg has been to the region for Oxfam who are are running a number of aid projects that offer long-term support to those in need.
Jan Grarup of Noor Images captured pictures of the influx of refugees arriving at Ethiopia’s Dollo Ado camp this October. In the area around the border city of Dollo Ado between Somalia and Ethiopia, four large refugee camps – Hilaweyn, Kobe, Malkadida and Bokomayo – are extremely overcrowded, hosting more than 120,000 refugees. A fifth camp is under construction to deal with the big influx of people arriving daily. ….LINK
CREDIT: JAN GRARUP | NOOR
Over 16,700 severely malnourished patients, mostly children, have been cared for so far in MSF programmes in Oromiya and SNNP regions of Ethiopia. Among them, 2,071 children suffering from medical complications were admitted to five stabilisation centres where they received 24-hour medical attention. Another 14,700 severely malnourished children have received nutritional treatment and food rations on an ambulatory basis in a network of 44 outpatient therapeutic programmes (OTP). Supplementary food rations made up of a corn and soja blend with oil and sugar have also been provided to 1,700 moderately malnourished children and their families.