Moumouni Kinda: “Let’s not let hunger kill more than the virus! “

Tribune. The state of emergency is not the same for everyone: in Africa, in particular, it is about food insecurity. We talk about “severe acute malnutrition” (SAM), when the life of a person, very often children under 5 years old, is in imminent danger because they are not able to feed themselves adequately. adequate and, or, because they face certain diseases.

More and more of them are coming to hospitals and nutritional recovery centers in southern Niger. The six hundred beds available in the area are no longer sufficient; we are overwhelmed by an influx of children, the majority of whom come from across the border in Nigeria.

This peak in hospitalizations is alarming for humanitarians who have been in the field for decades. Admittedly, this “lean” period between July and October always leads to a peak in malnutrition: food stocks from previous harvests are almost exhausted and the rainy season favors a stronger transmission of malaria which weakens in particular very young children. But this year, something more serious is coming, which threatens our long fight against hunger and malnutrition in this region of the Sahel.

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Indeed, figures from international organizations – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef)… – confirm this worsening. dramatic situation since 2020 and the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. the 2021 world food security and nutrition report estimates the increase in hungry populations at 118 million – nearly half of them in Africa – compared to 2019.

This trend is explained by the conjunction of four crises: Covid-19 and its economic impact on household income and the cost of food; the conflicts causing millions of displaced people in the three border zone (Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso) and in the north-west of Nigeria; climate change and its consequences on agricultural yields; and finally budget cuts for nutritional and pediatric humanitarian actions.

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This cocktail of the “four c’s” is the poison against which we must fight with our local and international partners to prevent hunger from killing more than the virus in 2021 and 2022. This is why our priority must be twofold: to vaccinate against Covid-19 and, at the same time, treat and prevent malnutrition.

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Moumouni Kinda: “Let’s not let hunger kill more than the virus! ”

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