KABUL (SW) – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that 2.3 million children in Afghanistan will suffer from malnutrition this year, and 875,000 of them will need emergency treatment.
UNICEF representative in Afghanistan Fran Equiza has said about 840,000 pregnant women will also suffer from malnutrition and most of them may be at risk of death.
Officials at Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital in Kabul say that 1125 malnourished children visited this hospital in the last one year, out of which 80 children lost their lives.
Hasebe Yousefi, the head of the malnutrition department of this hospital, said: “In the past three months, 300 children suffering from malnutrition have been brought to this hospital, of which nine children have lost their lives.”
Khalsa, who is a resident of Kapisa and brought her child to Indira Gandhi Children’s Health Hospital for treatment, said that her child is malnourished due to poverty. “We have two children at home, one of them is in good health and the other is malnourished due to poverty.” she said.
Duran, a resident of Nangarhar, whose child is suffering from malnutrition, wants the officials of the Ministry of Public Health to provide facilities for the treatment of malnourished children in the provinces. “We want the Islamic Emirate to provide facilities for the treatment of acute diseases in provincial hospitals and our children are not fed properly due to poverty and we want the Islamic Emirate to help us.”
A number of health professionals consider poverty, family’s non-observance of health guidelines, and children’s non-vaccination as the main causes of malnutrition among children in Afghanistan.
Dr. Arif Hasanzai of Indira Gandhi Children’s Health Hospital says: “Mothers should breastfeed their children up to six months and when their children become sick, they should be vaccinated against the same disease and should visit the nearest doctor.”
It is worth noting that a number of aid agencies had previously said that with the reduction of international aid, the level of poverty in Afghanistan has increased and many children may suffer from malnutrition.