World Food Programme launches first nutrition programme in Khartoum to curb malnutrition

SUDAN—The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched its first nutrition support programme in Khartoum, Sudan, targeting 175,000 pregnant and nursing women and children under five.

The program is undertaken in collaboration with the Khartoum State Ministry of Health (SMOH), who will be the implementers and is funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

“Malnutrition at its extremes is a matter of life and death, and in the long term can hold back people and countries, undermining economies and development,” said WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director Hameed Nuru.

“We are very pleased to have launched the Khartoum nutrition programme which will contribute to improving the health and nutritional status of people in the Khartoum State.”

WFP will provide specialized nutritious food as well as nutrition counselling at the health centres to treat children and mothers suffering from moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and attend to children before they deteriorate to severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

They will also work with SMOH and partners to ensure that all precautionary measures are in place such as handwashing and physical distancing to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The project will be implemented in 31 health centres in seven localities across Khartoum State, where SMOH is implementing community management of SAM supported by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The localities include Khartoum, Umdurman, Karrari, Umbada, Bahri, Shargelnil, and Jabal Aulia.

“WFP is also working with authorities to gradually scale up its nutrition support in River Nile and Gezira States in the coming months, which will increase the number of states where WFP provides nutrition support to 16 states,” Nuru said.

The food security and nutrition situation in Khartoum has deteriorated in recent years; the latest Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) report estimates that 1.4 million people in Khartoum are experiencing high levels of food insecurity due to economic decline, inflation and food price hikes exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Kenya, WFP has announced Sh8.34 billion (US$77.13m) in funding to support Kenya’s food security and expand a cash-transfer programme from July to December 2020.

The programme, which was rolled out in June, targets more than a quarter million Nairobi’s slum residents hit by the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through the initiative, WFP has disbursed Sh420.89 million (US$3.89m) under the cash-transfer plan with each family receiving Sh4,000 (US$37) monthly.

“This support will continue for three months and will contribute to 50 per cent of the minimum food basket,” the WFP said, adding that 702,000 people had benefited from the fund at the end of June.

The fund will also be used in the management of acute malnutrition among 2,500 children under five, pregnant lactating women, and elderly in 123-facilities in Nairobi’s informal settlements.

Refugees in Dadaab, Kakuma and Kalobeyei will also get food assistance in collaboration with the United Nation High Commission for Refugees.

However, with increased vulnerabilities, WFP said an additional Sh3.31 billion (US$30.6m) will be needed to push the programme until the end of the year.

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