Campaign against malnutrition among Sudan refugees pays off

Ms Mary Akon feeds her twins on food supplements in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in Arua District last week. PHOTO BY CLEMENT ALUMA

Arua. Ms Mary Akon, a refugee from Bor in South Sudan, gave birth to twins last year in Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in Arua District.
However, barely a month after delivery, the children developed severe malnutrition.
The authorities at Odobu Health Centre II, which is located in the refugee camp, could not handle the condition and referred Ms Akon to Arua Regional Referral Hospital.

The authorities at the refugee centre, fearing the worst, put the matter to the attention of Unicef, the international organisation for children.
Unicef swung into action, identifying and treating the malnutrition cases, which stood at 19 per cent last year.

The action
They also partnered with the local health units and other relief organisations such as Concern Worldwide to help the children in the camp housing more than 20,000 refugees who fled the war in South Sudan in 2013.
Mr Joseph Mbabazi, a nutrition officer at Concern Worldwide, said early identification has helped to address malnutrition cases among refugee children.
Ms Akon, whose twins were on the brink of death, told Daily Monitor last Thursday: “My twins are now nine months old, Unicef has been giving us food supplements every week. They have also taught us to have gardens near our homes; we now supplement what they give us with vegetables we plant.”

Ms Jane Alice, the officer in-charge of Odobu Health Centre, said: “We have been emphasising nutrition health education to the refugee population. We used to receive six to nine cases of malnutrition weekly but now it is coming down to one or two in a month.”