Gambia

ECHO provides over half a Million Euros to save the lives of more children in The Gambia with nutrition support

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Banjul, 8th May 2015 - The European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Department (ECHO) is committed to saving the lives of more children in The Gambia through the provision of additional funding to UNICEF, totalling €549,957, as part of its support to the nutrition response in the Sahel.

This is the latest in a series of contributions that ECHO has sent UNICEF since 2012 to support the country’s emergency nutrition response focussing on the prevention and treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in over 30,000 children five years of age in all regions of The Gambia. Malnutrition is a significant contributor to child morbidity and mortality in The Gambia.

“UNICEF, the government of The Gambia and the children are extremely grateful to ECHO for its consistent contributions to improving the nutrition status of children,” said UNICEF’s Deputy Representative and Officer-in-Charge, Mr. Rupert Leighton. “The latest funding received from ECHO, with contribution from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (UKaid), will enable UNICEF to target more vulnerable children with preventive measures as well as treatment and support.”

In close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Nutrition Agency, UNICEF will ensure that the funds received contribute to assessing the prevalence of malnutrition through a national nutrition survey using Standardized Monitoring and Assessment of Relief Transitions (SMART) methods. Further, nutritional commodities and products such as Ready To Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) and milk powder will be provided to targeted SAM children under five while health workers will be trained on the management of SAM, promotion of improved Infant and Young Child Feeding practices and personal and household hygiene and sanitation to prevent malnutrition among children under five.

Over the years, thanks to the support from ECHO and other partners, UNICEF, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Nutrition Agency have implemented life-saving nutrition interventions through both regular programming and as part of the nutrition response targeting particularly at-risk children. In addition to conducting a SMART survey every two years, health workers have been trained on assessing and managing SAM cases and products to support SAM treatment (drugs, therapeutic milk, RUTF) have been continually purchased. In 2012, ECHO funds allowed the National Nutrition Agency to revise and update the national protocol on the Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) to align it with international standards.

In 2014 alone, nearly 4,492 children with SAM were reached with therapeutic care and hygiene messages while 90 health workers were trained in inpatient management of SAM. Drugs for the treatment of SAM were also procured and support provided to expand IMAM sites from 14 to 19.

About UNICEF and the EU

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF Gambia and its work visit: www.unicef.org/gambia Facebook www.facebook.com/unicefgambia

Relations with the EU are based on principles enshrined in the Cotonou Agreement linked to dialogue and trade, as well as to development assistance. The EU supports the Gambia's poverty-reduction goals. During the period 2009-2014, the EU provided €73 million in aid under the European Development Fund to The Gambia. The Gambia also received aid from regional, intra-ACP and specific programmes, as well as EU humanitarian aid from ECHO to tackle consequences of the ongoing Sahel food and nutrition crisis.

EU in the Gambia visit: http://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/gambia/index_en.htm Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EUinTheGambia

For more information, please contact:

Sally Sadie Singhateh, Communication Specialist, UNICEF Gambia, Tel: 220 449 50 06, E-mail: ssinghateh@unicef.org

Stanley Vitumbiko Mwase, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Gambia, Tel: 220 449 50 06, E-mail: svmwase@unicef.org

Mathias Gaarmann, Press Officer, EU Delegation Gambia, Tel: 220 449 51 46, E-mail: Mathias.GAARMANN@eeas.europa.eu

Cyprien Fabre, ECHO regional office Dakar. Email Cyprien.fabre@echofield.eu