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US contributes $35 million to UNICEF to fight malnutrition

The United States through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), has contributed   $35 million to help the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to fight against malnutrition in South Sudan.

“With this vital support, UNICEF and partners can ensure continued screening and treatment of children across the country and we are grateful to the United States for this support,” said Hamida Lasseko, UNICEF South Sudan Representative in a statement issued in Juba on Tuesday.

UNICEF has already treated almost 150,000 children for acute malnutrition in 2022, it said.

“Mothers across South Sudan will receive crucial ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) to treat their children suffering from severe wasting, a life-threatening form of malnutrition. These life-saving supplemental foods have been made available to UNICEF South Sudan through a $35 million contribution from USAID,” it said.

It added that USAID is providing this additional support as South Sudan faces the highest levels of malnutrition among children on record, with 1.4 million children expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2022. This represents an approximately 30 percent increase in the number of children suffering from wasting compared to 2021.

It said the funds will be used to provide over 350,000 cartons of RUTF to treat more than 350,000 children across South Sudan in 2022 and 2023.

Kate Crawford, the USAID South Sudan Mission Director, said that addressing food insecurity and malnutrition in South Sudan is critical, adding that they are acutely aware of the needs in providing these supplies to treat malnourished children.

“The U.S. government is pleased to continue to support the ongoing response to malnutrition and ensure the health and well-being of children across South Sudan,” Crawford said.

Cartons of therapeutic food will be dispatched throughout the country to more than 1,300 nutrition centers where UNICEF and partners are screening children for malnutrition and providing therapeutic assistance to those in need.

“No child should have to suffer from malnutrition, and UNICEF recognizes the need to increase focus on prevention. Additional funding from USAID will benefit more than one million mothers, fathers, and caregivers of children below 24 months through maternal, infant, and young child nutrition counselling services, giving them the necessary knowledge and skills to prevent their children from falling into malnutrition,” it said.

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