By Mihret G Kristos @MercyG_kirstos
Addis Abeba – The Tigray regional health bureau said the number of under five children dying of acute malnutrition has increased by 28% between March and April amidst worsening humanitarian situation in the region.
Mengsh Bahreslassie, nutrition coordinator at the bureau, told Addis Standard that acute malnutrition of children in Tigray is sharply increasing mainly due to the ongoing suspension of huma aid.
“Children, especially those who are under five need nutritious foods such as fruits and dairy products,” Mengsh said, adding that in Tigray “children are dying from lack of such foods”.
According to him, since the war broke out in Tigray in November 2020 at least 2,850 children have died in hospitals of acute malnutrition. Out of the total 230 children died after the peace agreement was reached to end the war, he added. The figure excludes Western and parts of Southern Tigray.
At the Ayder Referral Hospital in the capital Mekelle the number of children admitted to the hospital with malnutrition and the death rate have increased, Dr Simret Nigussie told Addis Standard.
Before the war in Tigray in 2020, the average number of admission was 158 with four deaths per year. In 2022 it almost doubled to 300 children with a five fold death rate, said Dr Simret.
According to Dr Simret, this year in May alone Seven children have died in the hospital from malnutrition and subsequent severe complications.
On 29 May, Addis Standard reported a rising number of deaths as authorities in the region promised to work hard to finalize an investigation into food aid theft that led to suspension of humanitarian aid.
A report by the UN released in November 2022, revealed that an estimated 30% of children in the Tigray region are facing “acute malnutrition” while more than five million people are in need of food assistance as humanitarian supplies arriving in the region “remain far from what is needed to meet the huge needs.” AS