Managing Acute Malnutrition in NW Syria

Project: Malnutrition Screening, Treatment, and Counseling for Children and Pregnant and Lactating Women in Northwest Syria

Facilitated by RPI and implemented on-site by refugee-led partner Orkide


Background: Few things are more heartbreaking than a child crying in hunger with serious health risks. Yet this occurs at an alarming rate in northwest Syria, where the UN estimates 1 in 3 children are stunted and nearly 15% of children are acutely malnourished in the hardest hit areas. In what is quickly becoming an emergency, some hospitals are reporting half their beds filled by malnourished children. Refugee Protection International is partnering with refugee-led nonprofit Orkide to prevent and treat acute malnutrition in this conflict-torn region.  

Project Summary: Baby Gori is 1 of over 17,000 Syrian children, pregnant and lactating women, and other caretakers reached through RPI’s health and nutrition collaboration with Turkey-based implementing partner Orkide NGO. Displaced by a decade of war, her family is too poor to afford soaring food prices or a visit to the doctor in what remains of Syria’s devastated health system. Livelihoods are even more slim amid COVID-19 restrictions. Gori is seen weekly by the project’s community health workers (CHWs). These Syrian CHWs are screening children under 5 years old and pregnant and lactating women for moderate (MAM) and severe (SAM) acute malnutrition in high-risk areas of Aleppo province, Syria. They distribute fortified food supplements and ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) from the Nutrition Cluster and counsel mothers in infant and young child feeding (IYCF-E) and COVID-19 protection. The mobile clinic monitors acute cases, provides continued support, and transports complicated severe cases to and from inpatient care.

Thanks to this project, Gori’s mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) has improved from 118mm (MAM) to 127mm. Community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) and counseling in IYCF-E save lives and stem the long-term developmental impacts of malnutrition. Help us extend this critical support to more children like Gori.

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