Nurturing Early Childhood Development: Inside the Malnutrition Centre of Excellence – UNICEF

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The El Niño drought presents a complex humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe, causing water and food shortages, both of which impact child nutrition. Poor harvests resulting from a shortage of water decrease household food security and lower diet quality for children in terms of both quantity and variety. The reduced water quantity and quality also raises the incidence of diarrheal diseases. The situation increases children’s vulnerability to malnutrition and compromises children’s rights to education and protection.

Anticipating the devastating impact, UNICEF urgently appeals for USD 84.9 million to fund its emergency response, assisting children and women affected by the El Nino crisis. This funding will provide life-saving interventions to 1.34 million people, including 866,000 children.

The Malnutrition Unit at Sally Mugabe Children’s Hospital is providing comprehensive care including conducting diet counseling, outreach support visits to community-based groups that assist caregivers of children with disabilities and teaching feeding techniques and conducting screenings for severe wasting during visits. Furthermore, the unit is working to improve quality protocols for the treatment of wasting from admission to the ward.

Basking in the record achievement of reducing mortality rates among its in-patient caseload from 47% to 8% over two years, the Malnutrition Unit is living up to its reputation as a Centre of Excellence, highlighting significant improvements in hospital treatment.

Health Resilience Fund is a pooled fund coordinated by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with financial contributions of the European Union; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Governments of Ireland and the United Kingdom; and technical support of UNFPA, UNICEF and WHO.

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