A severe malnutrition could be a problem for 1.1 million Afghan children

According to the U.N., Afghanistan will see 1.1 million children below 5 years old suffer from the worst form of malnutrition in the coming year.

A severe malnutrition could be a problem for 1.1 million Afghan children

According to the U.N., Afghanistan will see 1.1 million children below 5 years old suffer from the worst form of malnutrition in the coming year. This is due to an increase in the number of hungry and wasting children being admitted into hospitals.

The U.N. and other aid agencies were successful in preventing famine following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last January. They also launched a massive emergency assistance program that fed thousands.

They are finding it difficult to cope with the ever worsening situation. According to an assessment report released this month, poverty is increasing and more Afghans are in dire need of assistance. Global food prices are rising due to the war in Ukraine, and promises of international financing are not being fulfilled.

The vulnerable are being left behind, including children and mothers who struggle to feed their families.

Nazia claimed that she had lost four children due to malnutrition, two daughters and two boys under two years of age. Nazia, a 30-year-old Nazia stated that all four of her children died from financial problems and poverty. She didn't have enough money to treat her children when they fell ill.

Nazia spoke to The Associated Press in Charakar Hospital, northern Parwan. She was there with her 7-month old daughter while she was being treated for malnutrition. She said that her husband, a day laborer, is also a drug addict, and seldom earns an income. She uses one name, like many Afghans.

UNICEF, the U.N. Children's Agency, stated that 1.1 million children will be affected by severe acute malnutrition this year, also known as severe weight loss. This is nearly twice the number of children who suffered from it in 2018, and more than the 1 million they had last year.

According to UNICEF, severe wasting is the most serious type of malnutrition. It is when food is so scarce that children's immune systems are compromised. They are more susceptible to various types of diseases and eventually become so weak that they cannot absorb nutrients.

In March 2020, 16,000 children were admitted to health facilities with severe acute Malnutrition. This number has steadily increased, to 18,000 in February 2021 and then jumping to 28,000 by March 2022, according to Mohamed Ag Ayoya (UNICEF representative in Afghanistan).

Afghanistan was already suffering from one of the worst droughts in decades, and had been torn apart by years of war. But the Taliban's takeover in August brought the country into crisis. International sanctions imposed severe restrictions on the government and many development agencies were forced to withdraw, resulting in the collapse of the economy.

Millions of people were living in poverty, unable to provide food for their families. According to U.N. statistics, nearly half of the 38 million people living in poverty were alive at the end of 2013. According to the U.N. Development Program, this could increase to 97% by 2022 as the economy continues to collapse and prices rise.

Mohammad Sharif, a Charakar hospital doctor, stated that poverty causes mothers to lack proper nutrition during pregnancy and after birth.

According to Dr. Mohammad Sediq (head of the children's unit), 1,100 children have been admitted at the Mirwais Hospital, southern Kandahar province. 30 of them died.

Kobra, a mother of a 6-month-old boy, stated that she was unable to breastfeed her child. She said that her 6-month-old son is losing weight and crying a lot.

Jamila, a Kandahar resident in an area of poverty, said that her eight-month-old son died last month from severe malnutrition. She said she is worried about her four other children if she does not get the help she needs.

She said, "The government has not helped us at all, and no one has ever asked us if our hunger is going to be satisfied or if we have anything to eat."

After the Taliban takeover, U.N. agencies initiated a massive, rapid aid program, increasing to the point where they now provide food assistance to 38%.

According to an IPC May report, which is a partnership between U.N. agencies and other agencies that assess food security, the number of people who are facing acute food insecurity has fallen slightly from 22.8 millions late last year to 19.7million currently. According to IPC, this number will drop slightly to 18.9million between June and November.