95% increase in severe acute malnutrition admissions at IRC Hagadera clinic in May alone
Almost 4.5million people in Kenya are experiencing hunger
Almost 1 million children under 5 are acutely malnourished in Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya, June 29, 2023 — International Rescue Committee (IRC) calls attention to the alarming levels of acute malnutrition affecting thousands of vulnerable individuals in the Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps in Kenya. Despite ongoing efforts, malnutrition rates have reached a critical level, posing a severe threat to the health and well-being of refugees, particularly children.
In May alone, patients admitted with the most life-threatening form of malnutrition with other complications rose by almost 95% in the Hagadera refugee camp in Dadaab. The prolonged drought in Horn of Africa has increased food insecurity, leading to a rise in malnutrition levels for both the refugee and the general Kenyan population. Kenya’s rainy season has also contributed to the population’s overall vulnerability, with spikes in illnesses, such as malaria. Furthermore, food rations have been cut to 80% of their usual amount, significantly impacting food security for refugees living in Kenya.
Acute malnutrition has far-reaching consequences, impacting not only physical development but also cognitive abilities. Without adequate nutrition, children are more susceptible to illnesses, infections, and lifelong health issues. Furthermore, acute malnutrition undermines childrens’ chances of breaking the cycle of poverty, hindering their potential to thrive, live fulfilling lives, and contribute to their communities.
Mohammed el Montassir, IRC Kenya Country Director, said,
"Our team on the ground has witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of malnutrition on children in the Kakuma and Hagadera camps- the situation demands urgent attention. There is a proven and highly effective treatment for malnutrition, but globally 80% of acutely malnourished children cannot access it. We call on governments, donors, and the international community to join hands with us in combating malnutrition and providing a better future for these children by adopting the simplified protocol for treatment and using community health workers to bring treatment directly to communities in need. The international community must ensure that no child falls victim to acute malnutrition and its devastating consequences."
The IRC, a global humanitarian organization committed to providing lifesaving assistance to those affected by crisis and conflict, has been working tirelessly to address the malnutrition crisis in the Kakuma and Dadaab camps. Through its dedicated nutrition programs, the IRC aims to ensure that every child receives the necessary support to overcome malnutrition and achieve optimal growth. The IRC's nutrition programs encompass a range of interventions, including therapeutic feeding, nutritional counseling, and the provision of essential supplements.
The IRC has been working in Kenya since 1992, providing essential health and nutrition services in Kakuma and Dadaab refugee camps to tens of thousands of refugees escaping conflict and natural disaster in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and other neighbouring countries. We also provide support and care to women and girls who are victims of violence.