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Action Against Hunger is doubling the number of mobile clinics in the region to meet growing needs due to the strong drought and the impact of COVID-19 interrupting supplies to markets during the last months.
Paris, 28 October 2020 – Drought and food insecurity are common in the southern part of the country. Once again, this year, the hunger gap period is critical. According to the latest food insecurity studies, 1.6 million people in the Southern region have difficulties in accessing food, including 500,000 affected by severe food insecurity and need urgent humanitarian assistance. From now until December, around 20,000 children under the age of 5 risk suffering from severe acute malnutrition that requires medical care.
‘In light of the poor structural access to care services and the deteriorating nutritional situation in the Southern region, Action Against Hunger will double its number of mobile clinics in the coming weeks’, explains Olivier Le Guillou, director of the NGO in Madagascar. ‘There will be 11 instead of 6 from October onwards, in an attempt to improve the coverage of access to acute malnutrition care services during the hunger gap period, which lasts until April’.
This year, the hunger gap period started particularly early. Households’ basic food stocks started to run out in September 2020, and wholesalers’ stocks are currently running low. This is due to the lack of rain that has affected harvests.
The rainfall accumulated between October 2019 and June 2020 was on average 19% below what was expected, and this deficit even reached 34% in several areas. The most severely affected districts are Ampanihy, Bekily and Amboasary. The Action Against Hunger mobile teams have seen increasing numbers of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition as the hunger gap period has progressed.
‘In August, the Action Against Hunger teams treated 992 severely malnourished children under the age of 5. So far this month, this figure stands at nearly 1 200 and this figure should worsen in the coming months with the hunger gap. To cope with the needs, we must be vigilant and adapt our response accordingly in the coming months’, Olivier Le Guillou adds.
Since 2017, Action Against Hunger has been organising mobile clinics in the Southern region to detect and treat the most serious forms of acute malnutrition. These mobile teams care for communities that are far away from health centres. They test all children aged between 6 and 59 months in the identified vulnerable areas and provide medical consultations, then they treat the moderate and severe cases of acute malnutrition. Cases that present complications are referred to hospital structures, which are also supported by Action Against Hunger, so that the patient can receive quality treatment. This is carried out in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and in coordination with all partners present in the area.
Action Against Hunger has been present in Madagascar since 2012, following a significant intervention to deal with cyclone Aruna, which severely affected the Atsimo-Andrefana region. Today, Action Against Hunger offers programmes in the fields of Health and Nutrition, Food Security and Livelihoods, Mental Health and Care Practice, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. Action Against Hunger is present in the capital, Antananarivo, as well as in the regions of the Grand Sud. Action Against Hunger’s interventions in the country are part of both an emergency humanitarian approach and a development perspective.