Around 700,000 children were diagnosed with malnutrition in Congo, also caused by violence in the area

UNICEF reports around 770,000 children suffer from acute malnutrition in Congo. From the total number recorded, 400,000 are severely malnourished or are at risk of death. The violence in the Kasai region caused the displacement of its residents. Children are the most affected group, with one out of ten suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Malnutrition in Congo is very prevalent. In 2016, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) detected signs of malnutrition in around 5,700 children during a measles vaccination campaign, which is already above the emergency threshold. The conflict also displaced almost half a million from the province of Tanganyika between July 2016 and March 2017. In 2008, records showed that boys are more affected by malnutrition than girls.

Also in 2016, the Action Against Hunger organization who have been working with Congo since 1996, cooperated with the Ministry of Health in responding to 11 nutrition crises in the country. They also strengthened health systems in Kasai together with the ministry.

Malnutrition in Congo
Because of the conflict in Congo, many people especially children have no access to basic needs like food. Photo from Médecins Sans Frontières.

Because of the malnutrition in Congo, the country was recorded to have the highest number of mortality cases in the world. From 2001 to 2010, the rate of malnutrition reduced from 16 percent to 11 percent. However, the figures remain high.

In 2007, the rate was critical. UNICEF recorded 46 percent among children below the age of five. Not only were children affected but also mothers. In the same year, 19 percent had low body mass index.

The continuing war in the area has caused children to lose access to basic needs such as healthcare, education, and clean water. The conflict also destroyed more than 200 health care centers.

Because of the alarming cases, several organizations worked together to protect Congolese children from further suffering in the conflict. The organization and its partners are undertaking measures to alleviate the children’s situation. They are working on distributing food to health centers and training health care workers to promote nutritional practices.

Video from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States