During the first half of 2019, UNICEF supported the Government of the State of Eritrea (GoSE) to provide therapeutic and supplementary feeding services to 13,870 acutely malnourished children under-five. Of these, 3,407 were treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 10,464 were treated for moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
During the same reporting period, 51,530 children under-five were immunized against measles, and 38,200 children affected by diarrhoea received access to life-saving curative interventions.
UNICEF procured 700 water filters for 260 health facilities, and 300 water treatment tablets were distributed per household for 60 days in two Zobas (sub-regions).
UNICEF and the Ministry of Education (MoE) jointly developed integrated Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials on injury, violence and disability prevention and control in schools and communities, to support the effective delivery of integrated Mine Risk Education (MRE). Additionally, UNICEF and MoE developed guiding manuals and flipcharts for school safety and emergency preparedness.
Situation overview and humanitarian needs
According to data from the Eritrea Population and Health Survey (EPHS) 2010 (the latest available), half of all children under-five are stunted, and children are affected by sporadic outbreaks of diarrhoea and measles. The risk of landmines and explosive remnants of war is a continuing threat to affected border communities, and particularly children. Domestic food production is estimated to meet only 60 to 70 per cent of the population’s needs.
It is expected that a new EPHS will be conducted in 2019 and will provide updated figures. Until then, UNICEF and GoSE base their calculations on EPHS 2010 data, which revealed that up to 23,430 children under-five were at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) nationwide.
Eritrea made moderate progress on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals’ (MDG) targets for safe drinking water, with only 58 per cent of the total population having access to improved drinking water sources according to the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) 2015. There are disparities in access to improved drinking water between urban populations (73 per cent) and rural populations (53 per cent); and 19 per cent of rural communities still use surface water (JMP 2015). As of June 2019, 953 villages (34 per cent of the total number of villages) were declared open defecation-free (ODF).
According to the MoE’s reports for 2018, there are approximately 300,000 out-of-school children (OOSC), the majority from nomadic and semi-nomadic communities who are vulnerable to natural disasters. According to the Education Management Information System (EMIS) 2016 / 2017, the net enrolment ratio is 17 per cent for pre-primary, 83 per cent for elementary, and 44 per cent for middle level. UNICEF’s support for national education focuses on community involvement in setting up learning spaces, building capacity of teachers recruited from the local communities, and enrolling OOSC from nomadic communities.
The high-level meeting in January 2019 between UNICEF Deputy Executive Director and the Head of GoSE sought to focus efforts on community-based health/nutrition programmes, education, WASH, agriculture and systemic capacity development interventions. Meanwhile, the most recent GoSE priorities communicated to the UN in June 2019 emphasise a holistic focus on children’s rights.