Nutrition security in Gao: an alarming situation

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A doctor in Mali measures the arm of 2-year-old Massira for signs of malnutririon during the Sahel nutrition crisis of 2012.© UNICEF/MLIA2012-00637/Bindra

The humanitarian community is raising alarm on the rates of acute malnutrition in Gao, Northern Mali.

A nutrition and mortality survey conducted by Mali's Ministry of health and its partners, including UNICEF, reveals a dire nutrition crisis, making it extremely difficult for the most vulnerable and children under age five, in particular.

Humanitarian Action Coordinator for Mali, David Gressly, during a visit to Gao on 23 July, said "The nutrition situation in Gao deserves special attention", adding that "Action must be taken now so that children who can be saved are not left to die and so that new cases can be prevented".

According to the survey, the situation is an even greater source of concern in the Bourem health district where global acute malnutrition (GAM) is at 17%, exceeding the emergency threshold of 15% set by the World Health Organization (WHO). It warns that during the next six months, 22,700 children will be at risk for acute malnutrition.

UNICEF Representative in Mali, Françoise Ackermans said "The lives of many children are in jeopardy", adding "They need immediate assistance". She said "Treating children suffering from severe acute malnutrition is a priority for UNICEF". We are sparing no effort to assist each child suffering from malnutrition".

This year, more than 108,000 children under age five were admitted to nutrition rehabilitation units around the country with the assistance of the Government of Mali, UNICEF and humanitarian partners.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’26″

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