More than half of the southern African country was declared a disaster zone in 2015 and now Malawi has registered a 100 percent increase in the number of severe malnutrition cases.
“The whole cycle or vicious cycle of malnutrition hits the children and children become severe acute malnourished in the process, which is nine times more vulnerable to death and also it is the life threatening part of malnutrition, so it’s cause of concern for Malawi” Sangita Jacob, Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF, Malawi
The United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund says by January 2016, 4,324 malnutrition cases were reported, double the numbers in December 2015.
The current wave of El Nino has resulted in the worst food crisis in nine years in Malawi. 2.8 million people are now at risk of starvation, which has led to challenging economic times that have rendered families helpless and almost unable to afford medical clinic visits.
Some families have been forced to reduce frequency of meals and sell off assets, just to survive during the tough times. The government of Malawi is currently working with UNICEF to ensure there’s screening and treatment of children under risk of malnutrition.