Children of Syria Newsletter - 6 March 2014

from UN Children's Fund
Published on 06 Mar 2014

Malnutrition assessment in Lebanon

Beirut –A UNICEF-led, joint nutrition assessment on the situation of Syrian refugees in Lebanon has revealed that malnutrition is a silent, emerging threat.

UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, World Health Organization (WHO), World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Orthodox Christian Charities (IOCC), conducted the assessment in October and November 2013. “UNICEF and its partners are concerned about the deterioration in the nutrition status of Syrian refugees in Lebanon,” said UNICEF Representative Annamaria Laurini. “Malnutrition is a new, silent threat among refugees in Lebanon, linked to poor hygiene, unsafe drinking water, diseases, lack of immunization, and improper feeding practices of young children.” In the Bekaa and the North of Lebanon, the prevalence of Severe Acute Malnutrition almost doubled in 2013 compared to 2012.

Across the country, almost 2,000 Syrian refugee children under-five years of age are at risk of dying, and need immediate treatment to survive.

Over half of these children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition are in the Bekaa, in eastern Lebanon, where most of the makeshift camps are and access to clean water, hygiene, and sanitation are a challenge.

The nutrition situation among refugees in Lebanon could deteriorate rapidly due to aggravating factors, such as the increase in food prices, risk of food insecurity, increasing numbers and new arrivals of refugees from Syria that could be in worse condition.

Recommendations of the report highlight integrated efforts with the Ministry of Public Health and other partners to build capacity and mobilize health workers, monitor the situation, detect malnourished children, provide treatment, and prevent further cases of malnourished children and women.

This involves screening children and women, treating acute malnutrition through supplementary and therapeutic feeding programs, and raising awareness around appropriate infant and young child feeding practices, as well as prevention of micronutrient deficiencies.