What is Malnutrition?
Malnutrition is a serious condition that occurs when a person’s diet doesn’t contain the right amount of nutrients. It can refer to both undernutrition (not getting enough nutrients) or overnutrition (getting more nutrients that you need). Common signs of malnutrition are: unintentional weight loss, an overall low body weight and taking a long time to recover when getting ill.
Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition. Children with SAM have very low weight for their height and severe muscle wasting. They may also have nutritional oedema, characterized by swollen feet, face and limbs. Severe Acute Malnutrition is a major cause of death in children under 5, and its prevention and treatment care critical to child survival and development.
The situation in Yemen:
Nearly 2.2 million children in Yemen are acutely malnourished and require urgent care. At least 462,000 children suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), a drastic increase of almost 200 percent since 2014. An additional 1.7 million children suffer from Moderate Acute Malnutrition.
“Malnutrition in Yemen is at an all-time high and increasing,” said Dr. Meritxell Relano, UNICEF Acting Representative in Yemen. “The state of health of children in the Middle East’s poorest country has never been as catastrophic as it is today.”
Even before the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, Yemen faced challenges from widespread poverty, food insecurity and a dearth of health services. Now Yemen’s health system is on the verge of collapse.
The national community have neglected the malnutrition in Yemen and as the situation deepens the effects get worse and worse, meaning the aid and help being sent to Yemen is not enough to deal with the problems they face. Because malnutrition is not a physical condition, it’s not something people can emotionally connect with. Whereas with a child being killed or injured is something we can physically see the impact that has, so we are not hesitant to share images and support.
Less than a third of the country’s population has access to medical care. Less than half of health facilities are functional. Health workers have not been paid their wages for months and aid agencies are struggling to bring in life-saving supplies because of the political deadlock between the warring parties.
At least one child dies every ten minutes in Yemen because of preventable diseases such as diarrhea, malnutrition and respiratory tract infections.
“Violence and conflict have reversed significant gains made in the last decade in the health and nutrition of Yemeni children. Diseases such as cholera and measles have spread and, with few health facilities functional, such outbreaks are taking a heavy toll on children,” said Relano.
How you can help the people in Yemen:
Part of our mission is to get people involved to help the needy in Yemen. Therefor SABA Relief currently undertakes many projects with our team on the ground in Yemen. Water, food and medical aid are just 3 of the vital projects that we offer to give support and assistance to those in need. We also offer campaigns throughout the year, such as cholera aid, winter appeal, educational aid, feed the fasting and Qurbani.
In December 2017 with the help of our generous donors and charity partners, we sent a 40-foot container to Yemen that included food, clothes, medication and hygiene products.