EU and Partners providing life-saving treatment in the worst hit regions
4.2 million children in DRC suffer from acute malnutrition, a silent crisis of staggering proportions. 45-year-old Manginza lives in Kahemba in Kwango province. At just 80 km from the Angolan border, this remote town is impoverished since the illegal cross-border diamond trade collapsed after the end of the Angolan civil war in 2002.
In addition to her own children, Manginza is taking care of two of her grandchildren who her daughter left behind after migrating to Angola. Abject poverty is making people in this region abandon their families for opportunities in Angola’s mine region. Two of the children are recovering from severe acute malnutrition. Born just a month apart, one is her 3-year-old granddaughter Trésine, the other one her daughter Passy. “If it wasn’t for the support we received, these children may no longer be with me,” Manginza says.
In a country about two thirds the size of Western Europe, the town of Kahemba is reached by traveling 24 hours on mostly deserted roads from the capital Kinshasa. Kahemba is one of the regions where EU humanitarian aid has allowed Action Against Hunger (ACF) to deploy an emergency team to save children from the agony of death by malnutrition.
1 in 6 Congolese children in the region of Kahemba suffers from acute malnutrition. Faced with multiple complex crises, the DRC’s malnutrition crisis is often neglected. If left untreated the risk of death is high among children who suffer from acute malnutrition, particularly those below 5 years of age.
By enabling partners such as Action Against Hunger to respond to nutritional crises and scaling up treatment, the EU provides band aids in places where needs are the highest. In 2017, about 20,000 severely malnourished children in DRC received life-saving treatment thanks to EU humanitarian Aid. A big push to scale up treatment by all concerned actors is more than ever needed.
The reason children become malnourished is essentially because their families have difficulty putting enough quality food on the table day after day. In DRC, the EU has partnered with organisations Action Against Hunger and COOPI to respond to nutrition emergencies across the country. In 2017, these organisations trained over 1700 care givers and community health workers.
The community outreach workers play an essential role in the fight against malnutrition. They are volunteers, but take it upon them to detect malnutrition among the households in their neighbourhood and raise awareness. Mothers’ support groups are also formed to spread information by discussing the challenges of keeping babies healthy. They organise cooking demonstrations, showing people in the community how to prepare nutritious porridges and foods for young children with what is locally available.
Learn more about EU Humanitarian Aid in DRC and the fight against undernutrition: