One million malnourished Afghan children could face death: UNICEF
Without immediate action, an estimated one million children in Afghanistan are projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2021 and could die, a top UNICEF official said after wrapping up a trip to the country, reported local media.
UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Omar Abdi — who visited Afghanistan this week — warned that unless immediate assistance is provided “at least one million Afghan children face severe malnutrition and even death”, according to Ariana News.
“Severe outbreaks of measles and acute watery diarrhoea have further exacerbated the situation, putting more children at risk,” UNICEF said in a statement.
Abdi met with dozens of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition — a life-threatening illness — during his visit to Indira Gandhi Children’s hospital in Kabul.
While meeting with senior Taliban figures in Afghanistan, he underlined the need for children’s access to basic health care, immunisation, nutrition, water and sanitation, and child protection services, reported Ariana News.
Calling for polio, measles and COVID-19 immunisation to resume, he said that the immediate need is to help protect children and communities from vaccine-preventable diseases.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only countries in the world where polio remains endemic. Abdi met with partners at a COVID-19 and polio call centre to promote vaccination, according to UNICEF.
Stressing the importance of all boys and girls to continue their education, Abidi said that they should “participate meaningfully in building the future of their country”.
Stating that the UNICEF will continue to press for the rights of every girl, boy and woman in Afghanistan, Abidi said: “Our objective is to see an Afghanistan where every girl and every boy are in school, have quality health care, and are protected from all forms of violence.”
During his visit to Afghanistan, Abdi was accompanied by UNICEF Regional Director George Laryea-Adjei and UNICEF Afghanistan Representative Herve Ludovic de Lys.