Health Desk—Oct 28, 2017: The UN children's agency on Friday said it found high levels of acute malnutrition among children in the Rohingya refugee camps, and warned that the combination of malnutrition, sanitary conditions, and disease in the refugee settlements, is potentially catastrophic for children.
“We are working to get a clear understanding on the extent of acute malnutrition among Rohingya child refugees and a nutrition survey is underway which will give us this data in November,” Unicef Spokesperson Marixie Mercado told a press briefing in Geneva.
Among refugees who have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, Unicef and partners had screened 59,604 children as of October 25, with 1,970 identified as severely acutely malnourished, and 6,971 as moderately acutely malnourished.
During the recent mass influx, when thousands of refugees were stuck at the border on October 16-18, the Unicef screened 340 children. Of them, 33 were found to be severely acutely malnourished (SAM).
“This was a rough and rapid exercise to identify children who needed immediate, life-saving treatment.”
Screening conducted on sick children who were brought to a Medecins Sans Frontieres clinic found 14 SAM cases among 103 children. This is an extremely small number of children, so these numbers are not representative.
“They do however tell us that some children are close to death by the time they make it across the border,” said the spokesperson.
The Unicef, together with partners, is focusing on establishing nutrition treatment centres -- 15 so far including one mobile post, with six more being set up now in Kutupalong and the new extension, where most of the new arrivals are heading.