Baby WASH – the missing piece of the puzzle? 

By Samuel Godfrey

Mustapha and his one year old daughter Meia-Teza Wota Health Center Clinic

Mustapha and his one year old daughter Meia at Teza Wota Health Center ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2012/Getachew

The January 2016 Huffington Post article entitled Why are Indian kids smaller than Africa kids: hint its not race authored by Sanjay Wikesekera, UNICEF Global WASH Chief and Werner Shultink, UNICEF Global  Nutrition Chief, highlighted the link between child stunting[1] and lack of access to toilets. Children growing up in an environment where people are defecating in the open will result in kids crawling around on dirty floors, putting feacally contaminated material and objects in their mouths and ultimately will results in children having high rates of diarrhea which will result in their stunted physical and mental development.

To understand this better, UNICEF Ethiopia WASH team and John Hopkins University undertook a systematic review of more than 1000 peer reviewed academic articles with the aim of identifying interventions that health and WASH professionals can take or promote to reduce the contact of children with feacally contaminated material. The review identified strong evidence on the linkage between open defecation, stunting and early child development (See figure below from Ngure et al (2014).

Picture1

The review also notes good knowledge of how to do hygiene and sanitation promotion to safe disposal of adult feaces but limited evidence on safe disposal of baby feaces.

UNICEF Ethiopia is using the review to design specific Baby WASH interventions that can complement our current Infant Young Child Feeding programmes. Ethiopia has substantially reduced Open Defecation during the last 25 years. In 1990, an estimated 9 out of 10 people were “pooing” in the open and by 2015, this had reduced by 64 per cent to less than 1 in 3 people. However, despite this progress, almost half of children were recorded as ‘stunted’ or not achieving their full physical and mental growth by 2015. The literature suggests that Baby WASH, as we have termed it, may be one of the key “missing pieces” in reducing stunting. Baby WASH comprises of a ‘menu’ of physical and promotions activities which will reduce the exposure of the BABY to ingestion of feaces and ultimately reduce stunting and improve Early Childhood Development.

Watch this space for more details on field evidence on Baby WASH from UNICEF Ethiopia as we work closely with the Government of Ethiopia and development partners to expand this intervention throughout Ethiopia in our new Country Programme of Cooperation between 2016 and 2020. For the time being, UNICEF Ethiopia is using its own financial core resources. Interested development partners are welcome to join this groundbreaking initiative.

UNICEF Ethiopia is collaborating with the US based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of International Health, Program in Global Disease Epidemiology and Control. A researcher from the school was an intern in the UNICEF Ethiopia WASH section in 2015 and has collaborated with the WASH section on producing a paper entitled Evidence on Interventions Targeted at Reducing Unsafe Disposal of Child Feaces: A Systematic Review.

UNICEF Ethiopia’s rural wash activities are supported by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Netherlands, the Government of Canada and the UNICEF National Committees from Germany, UK and New Zealand.

Dr. Samuel Godfrey is Chief of WASH for UNICEF Ethiopia, and has a PhD and MSc in Civil Engineering and Water and Waste Engineering.

[1] Stunting is a sign of ‘shortness’ and develops over a long period of time. In children and adults, it is measured through the height-for-age nutritional index. In Ethiopia approximately 40 per cent of children are stunted.

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Ethiopia Showcases Best Practices in Drought Response at WHS Side Event

Hawa Girash a mother of two accompanied by her children walks in to temporary emergency rub hall tent

Hawa Girash a mother of two accompanied by her children walks in to temporary emergency rub hall tent ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Tesfaye

(Addis Ababa and Istanbul 23 May 2016): Mr. Demeke Mekonnen Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister today chairs a side event at the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) showcasing the country’s best practices in the drought response.

Participating key note speakers at the WHS side event “Bridging the divide: humanitarian and development collaboration in Ethiopia”, include Deputy Emergency Response Coordinator and Assistant Secretary General of OCHA Ms. Kyung-Wha Kang, WFP Executive Director, Ms. Ertharin Cousin, Executive Director of UNICEF, Mr. Anthony Lake, and Senior Adviser for Resilience, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), Mr. Claus Sorensen. 

Failed spring short rains and erratic long summer rains caused by El-Niño in 2015 led to serious spikes in food insecurity, malnutrition, water and fodder shortages, and health outbreaks across the country. Relief food recipients climbed from 2.9 million in January 2015 to 10.2 million in 2016. The WHS side event takes stock of the response so far, including the leadership of the Government of Ethiopia and the role the country’s development gains in the last decade, which humanitarian partners celebrate as best practices that have prevented a large scale famine. 

“In the past, droughts of this magnitude killed many, and caused profound suffering. The impact of this drought in 2016 has been different. Our preparation and priorities over the past decade has meant that our collective response prevented famine,” says Deputy Prime Minister Mekonnen. “We have been focusing on pro-poor policies, introducing disaster response management into all aspects of governance, strengthening government ministries, introducing satellite imagery and evidence-based analysis, and intensifying support to the agriculture sector.”

As a result of the 2002-2003 drought, the Government of Ethiopia and its partners began a process of addressing recurrent challenges posed, including the Disaster Risk Management Policy, the Productive Safety Nets Program (PSNP), efforts to improve watershed management, agriculture programs aimed to help farmers and pastoralists mitigate climate change impacts, and ‘pro-poor’ policies across multiple ministries to address recurrent need. The second generation of the Government’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) focuses on quantity and quality of basic services provision, aimed at the lowest quintile of the population. This is seminal towards ensuring development solutions and resilience is Government-owned and delivers upon residual development needs, which continue to bear humanitarian characteristics to date. 

“The Ethiopian response model is evidence that resilient development saves lives and protects development gains,” says Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa Onochie, Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia. “Ethiopia’s strong health system, with over 38,000 Health Extension Workers on Government pay-roll and a ‘Health Development Army’ of over 3 million volunteer women from rural Ethiopia, provides the backbone of the current drought response.”

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Water trucking brings relief to remote communities and helps revive local education

By Paul Schemm

UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education

Ababa Abraha had to leave school to work when her family ran out of food amid a severe drought. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Hema Balasundaram

When the drought came to the remote kebele (sub-district) of Gonka, Ababa Abraha’s family held out as long as they could, in their picturesque village set among the sharp mountain peaks and deep valleys of the Tigray Region.

With no crops and food, however, they finally had to leave to find temporary work in nearby towns and pulled 14-year-old Ababa out of Grade 7 to work as a house cleaner.

Then came word that there was water being supplied and a Government feeding programme at the Gonka Complete Primary School, a rough stone building in the village, and Ababa was allowed to return.

“I like school a lot,” said Ababa, who dreams of studying finance at university one day. “But I can’t learn without food. If there is no food, I have to work to help my family.”

Gonka Kebele, which is near the arid Afar Region, was hard hit by the drought affecting much of the country. With its two wells failing, it received a 10,000 litre-capacity water bladder that is refilled every other day by a truck that makes an arduous journey over the treacherous gravel road.

Trucking water for the hardest hit

UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education

Every other day, a truck transports 10,000 litres of water through mountainous terrain to the drought-affected community in remote Gonka Kebele © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Hema Balasundaram

The current drought has rendered some 5.8 million people nationwide in need of access to safe water. As long term solutions to water scarcity are developed, the Government of Ethiopia, supported by UNICEF, has started trucking in water to the most severely drought-affected communities.

UNICEF’s 100 trucks are operating in the Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali, SNNP and Tigray regions and have already delivered 15 million litres of water to 300,000 people in the last month.

“It is the first of its kind, UNICEF providing full water services to beneficiaries,” said Getachew Asmare, the UNICEF Water and Sanitation Specialist in Tigray, where 110,000 people including school children have benefited from 4.6 million litres of water in one month.

In some communities, people are surviving on just 5 litres of water a day, a quarter of the Government-recommended 15 litres a day and a far cry from the 100 litres a day consumed by the average citizen of a developed country,” said Getachew.

The case of Gonka Kebele shows how water scarcity doesn’t just affect hygiene and crops but also education.

A lifeline for the school

Haftu Gebreziher, the 26-year-old director of the Gonka Complete Primary School described how he was losing students by the day before the start of UNICEF-supported water trucking and Government feeding programme. Some were spending the day walking for hours fetching water at the distant river, others couldn’t pay attention in class.

Students also complained about the difficulty of getting a drink and the lack of regular showers due to the water scarcity

“There was a drop in attendance and a rise in tardiness,” he said, estimating a 60 per cent absentee rate. “This was interfering with school but now with the water and feedings, that has stopped.”

UNICEF-supported water trucking helps revive education

A water truck hired by UNICEF fills a 10,000-litre water bladder next to the school. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Hema Balasundaram

The large yellow water bladder donated by the Government of Ireland sits right outside the school, next to the hut where the children’s midday meal is prepared. The students swarm around the water taps connected to the bladder and drink whenever they want instead of taking a long trek by foot or camel to a river in the distant valley.

The €110,000 (ETB 2.6 million) worth of donated water containers marks the latest support from Ireland, which so far has given Ethiopia €9.1 million to combat the drought. The water tanks and jerry cans will be used by UNICEF in the worst affected woredas (districts) nation-wide.

As the WASH cluster lead, UNICEF also supports the Government of Ethiopia and other partners in the rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of new water supply systems, provision of water purification and treatment chemicals, and provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. UNICEF is also exploring innovative ways to use satellites to detect deep groundwater for large scale, multiple-village water supply systems.

These efforts are helping ensure that students affected by the drought don’t have to forfeit their education. For 14-year-old Silas Hagos at Gonka Complete Primary School, this means that she can once again work towards her dream to become a pilot for the national carrier Ethiopian Airlines. When the drought came, she had to leave the eight grade to work.

She sold soap and packaged biscuits in nearby town for weeks until the feeding programme and the new water bladder allowed her to return and once again dream of flying.

“If we get the opportunity to learn, it is good – an educated person is better than an uneducated one,” she said with a smile.

Posted in Drought Crisis 2015, Emergencies, Ethiopia, HIS, Irish, Nutrition, Partners, Tigrai, WASH | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Laws to protect breastfeeding inadequate in most countries

HALABA WOREDA, SNNPR – 24 JANUARY 2016

Mundene, 21, breastfeeds her two-month-old baby Melesech at the Gedebe Health Post in Halaba Special Woreda (district) in SNNP Region. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene

GENEVA/NEW YORK/ADDIS ABABA, 9 May 2016 – A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) reveals the status of national laws to protect and promote breastfeeding.

Of the 194 countries analysed in the report, 135 have in place some form of legal measure related to the International Code of Marketing of Breast-Milk Substitutes and subsequent, relevant resolutions adopted by the World Health Assembly (the Code). This is up from 103 in 2011, when the last WHO analysis was done. However, only 39 countries have laws that enact all provisions of the Code—a slight increase from 37 in 2011. 

WHO and UNICEF recommend that babies are fed nothing but breast milk for their first 6 months, after which they should continue breastfeeding—as well as eating other safe and nutritionally adequate foods—until 2 years of age or beyond. In that context, WHO Member States have committed to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding in the first 6 months of life to at least 50 per cent by 2025 as one of a set of global nutrition targets.

The Code calls on countries to protect breastfeeding by stopping the inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes (including infant formula), feeding bottles and teats. It also aims to and ensure breast-milk substitutes are used safely when they are necessary. It bans all forms of promotion of substitutes—including advertising, gifts to health workers and distribution of free samples. In addition, labels cannot make nutritional and health claims or include images that idealize infant formula. They must include clear instructions on how to use the product and carry messages about the superiority of breastfeeding over formula and the risks of not breastfeeding. 

“It is encouraging to see more countries pass laws to protect and promote breastfeeding, but there are still far too many places where mothers are inundated with incorrect and biased information through advertising and unsubstantiated health claims.

This can distort parents’ perceptions and undermine their confidence in breastfeeding, with the result that far too many children miss out on its many benefits,” says Dr Francesco Branca, Director of WHO’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. The breast-milk substitute business is a big one, with annual sales amounting to almost US$45 billion worldwide. This is projected to rise by over 55 per cent to US$70 billion by 2019. 

“The breast-milk substitutes industry is strong and growing, and so the battle to increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding around the world is an uphill one—but it is one that is worth the effort,” says UNICEF Chief of Nutrition Werner Schultink. “Mothers deserve a chance to get the correct information: that they have readily available the means to protect the health and wellbeing their children. Clever marketing should not be allowed to fudge the truth that there is no equal substitute for a mother’s own milk.” 

Topic: Breast Feeding

Click to see breastfeeding photos

Overall, richer countries lag behind poorer ones. The proportion of countries with comprehensive legislation in line with the Code is highest in the WHO South-East Asia Region (36 per cent – 4 out of 11 countries), followed by the WHO African Region (30% – 14 out of 47 countries) and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (29 per cent – 6 out of 21 countries). The WHO Region of the Americas (23 per cent – 8 out of 35 countries); Western Pacific Region (15 per cent – 4 out of 27 countries); and European Region (6 per cent – 3 out of 53 countries) have lower proportions of countries with comprehensive legislation.

  •  Among the countries that have any laws on marketing of breast-milk substitutes, globally:
  • Just over half sufficiently prohibit advertising and promotion.
  • Fewer than half prohibit the provision to health facilities of free or low-cost supplies of breast-milk substitutes.
  • Just over half prohibit gifts to health workers or members of their families.
  • The scope of products to which legislation applies remains limited. Many countries’ laws cover infant formula and ‘follow-up formula’, but only one third explicitly cover products intended for children aged 1 year and up.
  • Fewer than half of countries ban nutrition and health claims on designated products.

 IBFAN, with its International Code Documentation Centre (ICDC) taking the lead, has closely cooperated with WHO and UNICEF to prepare this report. The results are in line with the findings reported in ICDC’s own State of the Code 2016.

“IBFAN hopes that the report will lead more countries to improve and enforce existing legislation so that breastfeeding will have a better chance and save more lives,” says Annelies Allain, Director of IBFAN’s ICDC. “Legislation needs to keep pace with new marketing strategies and this report will help policy makers to do so.”

The report, Marketing of breast-milk substitutes: International implementation of the International Code – Status report 2016, includes tables showing, country by country, which Code measures have and have not been enacted into law. It also includes case studies on countries that have strengthened their laws or monitoring systems for the Code in recent years. These include Armenia, Botswana, India and Viet Nam.

 Monitoring is essential to enforcement

Monitoring is essential to detect violations and report them to the appropriate authorities so they can intervene and stop such activities. Yet, only 32 countries report having a monitoring mechanism in place, and of those, few are fully functional. Among the countries with a formal monitoring mechanism, fewer than half publish the results, and just six countries have dedicated budgets or funding for monitoring and enforcement.

WHO and UNICEF have recently established a Global Network for Monitoring and Support for Implementation of the Code (NetCode) to help strengthen countries’ and civil society capacity to monitor and effectively enforce Code laws. Key NGOs, including IBFAN, Helen Keller International and Save the Children, academic centres and selected countries have joined this network. 

Why breastfeed?

Globally, nearly two out of three infants are not exclusively breastfed for the recommended 6 months—a rate that has not improved in two decades. Breast milk is the ideal food for infants. It is safe, clean and contains antibodies which help protect against many common childhood illnesses. Breastfed children perform better on intelligence tests, are less likely to be overweight or obese and less prone to diabetes later in life. Women who breastfeed also have a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancers. Inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes continues to undermine efforts to improve breastfeeding rates and duration worldwide.

New analyses have revealed that increasing breastfeeding to near-universal levels could save the lives of more than 820 000 children under the age of five and 20 000 women each year. It could also add an estimated US$300 billion into the global economy annually, based on improvements in cognitive ability if every infant was breastfed until at least 6 months of age and their expected increased earnings later in life. Boosting breastfeeding rates would significantly reduce costs to families and governments for treatment of childhood illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and asthma.

In Ethiopia

Tena Esubalew Health Extension Worker comes to Etenesh Belay's house for counselling on breast feeding practices

Tena Esubalew Health Extension Worker comes to Etenesh Belay’s house for counselling on breast feeding practices Amhara region of Ethiopia. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Tsegaye

Food, Medicine and Healthcare Administration and Control Authority (FMHACA) is mandated by the proclamation of 661/2009 for the regulation of food safety and quality in the country. The authority has thereby issued a directive for the control of the promotion of infant, follow up formula and complementary foods by making sure of the safety, quality, nutritional value and promotion of the products. The registration of infant and follow up formula is one of the major requirements before getting its market authorization which helps for close control and monitoring of the products. The authority has already started the enforcement and monitoring of implementation of these activities.

 Although most women in Ethiopia breastfeed (96 per cent) their children up to the age of one year, only 52 per cent of children under 6 months are exclusively breastfed.[1] The promotion of breast-milk substitutes with increasing urbanization and changes in societal norms, creates a threat to breastfeeding by confusing mothers and families about the best possible feeding choices for their infants and young children.[2]  Poor breastfeeding practices can contribute to failure to grow and to thrive in children, a wide-spread problem in Ethiopia, affecting 40 per cent of children who are stunted[1]. 

[1]Ethiopian Demographic and Health Survey (EDHS) 2011

[2] Howard C., Howard F., Lawrence R., Andresen E., DeBlieck E. & Weitzman M. (2000) Office prenatal formula advertising and its effect on breast-feeding patterns. Obstetrics & Gynecology 95, 296–303.

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EU’s Satellite images provide life saving water to drought affected communities in Ethiopia

By Samuel Godfrey

An ongoing UNICEF supported borehole drill in Musle Kebele of Kore Woreda.

An ongoing UNICEF supported borehole drill in Musle Kebele of Kore Woreda. The borehole drilling site was identified through combined remote sensing technology with conventional methodologies (hydrogeology and geophysics). © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene

Ethiopia is in the middle of an El Nino induced drought which has left 5.8 million people across the country without access to adequate water. More than 220 districts of Ethiopia are facing water related emergencies that arise due to either a lack of availability or quality of water.

As the WASH cluster lead, UNICEF supports the Government of Ethiopia and other partners in the rehabilitation, maintenance and construction of new water supply systems, provision of water purification and treatment chemicals, scaling up of water trucking activities, and provision of sanitation and hygiene facilities in schools. In addition, UNICEF is exploring innovative ways to use satellites to detect deep groundwater for large scale, multiple-village water supply systems. As part of the overall drought emergency response, UNICEF supports programmes in child protection, education, health and nutrition.

Groundwater, compared to rivers/lakes or other surface water, supplies 80 percent of all drinking water in Ethiopia. Water from the groundwater aquifers supports emergency water supply, urban water supply and livestock watering. With limited rains, many of these shallow groundwater wells have run dry and these communities rely on expensive commercial trucks to haul in water.

The more sustainable groundwater is located at extremely deep depths. In some cases, more than 300 metres below the ground which is the equivalent in height of the Empire State Building. To locate water that deep and then to drill and extract it is a major challenge.

Satellite image of Afar Elidar woreda Potential drilling sites

Satellite image of Afar Elidar woreda potential drilling sites

To tackle this problem, the European Union and UNICEF have selected 9 of the worst affected districts across Ethiopia to use ‘satellite’ technology to locate groundwater. The EU Joint Research Centre (JRC) are providing their expertise by availing ‘no cost’ satellite images which depict the physical and topographical characteristics of the districts from satellites 100s of KM in the sky. These are then combined by UNICEF hydrogeology experts to locate appropriate sites for the drilling of essential deepwells for drought affected communities.

Results to date are extremely encouraging that it should be expanded to a larger scale of the country. On a recent visit to a well sited using this technique in Afar, the UNICEF Executive Director, Anthony Lake said “This approach is very cost-effective, compared to delivering water by truck. Indeed, every permanent well costs the equivalent of only three deliveries of water by truck.”

Mr. Lake added “This is only the beginning. With our partners in the European Union and the Government of Ethiopia we are expanding this effort through out the country, distributing water to villages, schools, health centres and cattle troughs.”

UNICEF would like to express its thanks to the European Union Delegation and the EU-JRC, for their establishment of a remote sensing partnership with UNICEF and providing the un-reserved support so far, which we believe to be strengthen and extended further in the future.

Innovative approaches like these are already showing results for boys and girls in the hard to reach areas of Ethiopia.

Dr. Samuel Godfrey is Chief of WASH for UNICEF Ethiopia, and has a PhD and MSc in Civil Engineering and Water and Waste Engineering.

Posted in Afar, Drought Crisis 2015, Emergencies, Ethiopia, EU, HIS, Tigrai, WASH | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Germany announces 10 million euro support for the drought response in Ethiopia

 

21 April, 2016:  Mr Thomas Silberhorn, the German Deputy Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development announced a contribution of 10 million euro to save lives and protect the livelihoods of vulnerable households affected by the El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia.

Due to the drought, 10.2 million people, 6 million of them children, are in need of food assistance, while 5.8 million people require access to clean drinking water and hygiene and sanitation facilities throughout 2016.

In 2015, the Government of Germany contributed 10 million euro to UNICEF for the drought emergency response in the areas of Health, Nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

During a visit to a UNICEF warehouse in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Mr Silberhorn said, “We would like to commend the Federal Government of Ethiopia for the well-coordinated response to the drought emergency. The Government’s timely call for early action has paved the way for a coordinated approach implemented by the Government and the international partners.” The Deputy Minister added, “I am pleased to announce that Germany’s cooperation with UNICEF will continue and that the German Government will provide additional funding amounting to 10 million euro to continue the drought emergency support, bringing the support to UNICEF’s work in the drought-affected areas to a total of 20 million euro.”

With this new funding from the German Government, an estimated 1 million people in drought-affected areas will benefit from improved health services, 240,000 people will have access to water supply, and 36,000 children with severe acute malnutrition will be provided with therapeutic food.

UNICEF, the Nutrition cluster lead, provides supplies for the management of severe acute malnutrition and supports the treatment of malnourished children through the community-based management of acute malnutrition, along with training, quality assurance and coordination with other partners.

UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Ms. Gillian Mellsop, thanked the German Government for its generous support to UNICEF’s multi-sectoral drought response, saying, “This timely support will, among other things, enable the country’s strong primary health care system to continue identifying and treating malnourished children. This emergency nutrition intervention also ensures that the drought will not result in lifelong developmental consequences for a generation of children and will not reverse Ethiopia’s hard-earned development progress.”

 

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UNICEF’s largest global purchase of Therapeutic Food for children in drought-stricken Ethiopia through donor support

Drought in Ethiopia

A mother feeds a her malnourished child a Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), a high protein and high energy peanut-based paste, in Arsi zone, Oromia, Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, after two years of erratic rainfall and drought, one of the most powerful El Niño weather events for 50 years is wreaking havoc on lives and livelihoods. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene

ADDIS ABABA, 22 April 2016 – Today, UNICEF thanked donors for their generous contributions and the Government for its strong leadership, which together have enabled a concerted response to the current El Niño driven drought in Ethiopia, particularly in treating children with severe malnutrition.

With support from donors, UNICEF has procured 543,631 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), which represents 22 per cent of the global order for 2015 and is one of the largest single purchases in UNICEF’s history. The donors include the Governments of Canada, Germany, Japan, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States and partners including ECHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

To date in 2016, UNICEF procured in 2015 a further 73,344 cartons of RUTF out of a global procurement estimated at 565,623 cartons, which corresponds to 13 per cent of the global supply. In addition to RUTF, other supplies including therapeutic milk, routine drugs and hygiene and sanitation commodities have been procured as part of the drought response. To accommodate this large volume of supplies and enhance preparedness for the drought response, UNICEF rented a new warehouse in the Gerji area of Addis Ababa, earlier this year.

“On behalf of the Government of Ethiopia and UNICEF, I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the humanitarian donors for their timely and generous financial contributions to purchase Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food that will save the lives of millions of children diagnosed with severe malnutrition,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. “I would also like to especially thank the Ethiopian Customs Authority, the Ethiopian Food Medicine and Health Care Administration and Akakas Logistics, this enormous supply chain operation would not have been possible without their active support. By accelerating our joint nutrition interventions, we can transform the lives of millions of children to become healthy citizens and reach their full potential.”

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the worst droughts in decades due to El Niño weather condition which continues to wreak havoc on the lives of children and their families’ livelihoods. According to the latest Humanitarian Requirement Document issued this year, 6 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water. Malnutrition rates have greatly increased – 450,000 children are expected to be treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) this year.

Inauguration of new UNICEF warehouse

Inauguration of new UNICEF warehouse (L-R) Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia, Dr Kebede Worku, State Minister of the Federal Ministry of Health, and Ms. Emma William, Deputy Head, DFID Ethiopia ©UNICEf Ethiopia/2016/Tsegaye

As part of the joint drought response coordinated by the Government, UNICEF is leading the Nutrition, Water Sanitation Hygiene, Education (together with Save the Children) clusters and the Child Protection sub-cluster. Together with other partners, UNICEF implements life-saving humanitarian responses including procurement and supply of therapeutic food and milk, drugs, other medical supplies, plus water/sanitation and education and child protection supplies.

UNICEF also supports the treatment of severely malnourished children through the community-based management of acute malnutrition, with training, quality assurance and coordination with other partners. Regular nutrition screening helps ensure that malnutrition in children is diagnosed and treated early, thereby reducing cases of severe acute malnutrition and life-threatening complications.

The supply of RUTF procured by UNICEF to date to respond to the current emergency is worth US$28 million including freight and in-country distribution. With the continued effort of the Government and support from humanitarian actors, 350,451 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition in 2015.

Posted in DFATD, DFID, Drought Crisis 2015, ECHO, Emergencies, EU, Irish, KOICA, Norway, Press Release, Sida | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment