SUDAN--The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched its nutrition support programme for the first time in Khartoum for 175,000 pregnant and nursing women and children under five, in collaboration with the Khartoum State Ministry of Health (SMOH).
The Khartoum nutrition programme, funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and implemented by the Khartoum SMOH, will screen children at community level and refer them to health centres for appropriate treatment, if identified as malnourished.
"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 catch children before they deteriorate to severe acute malnutrition (SAM). WFP will work with the 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 through September due to economic decline, inflation and food price hikes exacerbated by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.