Gripped by malnutrition
In Yemen, the economy is in a critical condition. Teachers, shopkeepers, health workers and business owners have lost their jobs, and family incomes have plummeted. Combined with a lack of access to clean water and health care, every day is a struggle.
Abdulrahman, a health care worker, lives with his wife and children in an area surrounded by pollution because of a lack of adequate sanitation. The sewage collects at a spot nearby his house which causes malaria and diarrhoea, both of which can lead to malnutrition among children.
When Abdulrahman's daughter Rowaida was just over one year old, she became infected with malaria. Abdulrahman noticed that his daughter was getting thinner, so he took her to the health centre.
Rowaida was diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition as her weight and height were nearly 30 per cent less than a healthy child. Malnutrition stunts a child’s growth and intellectual development, trapping them years behind their potential.
“I felt really bad when my daughter was diagnosed with malnutrition. I thought that because I was a doctor, I could treat her myself,” says Abdulrahman.
“However, this is not the case for [the majority of] malnourished children in Yemen,” he adds, aware that his family somehow is more fortunate than most.
UNICEF supports primary health care centres, such as the one where Abdulrahman works. It is one of more than 4,400 UNICEF-supported health facilities helping malnourished children like Rowaida recover.
For four months, Rowaida was fed ready-to-use therapeutic food to help her gain weight and grow well. At the end of the treatment, she had gained 1.5 kilograms.
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