The World Food Programme (WFP) has announced that it has received a contribution of €2.5 million from France to fight infant malnutrition in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The assistance from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs will help in the acquisition of food to prevent and treat severe malnutrition in the provinces of Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental where the malnutrition situation “remains alarming” the WFP say.
The WFP says “some 2.4 million children of less than five years old and about 1.7 million pregnant and breastfeeding women suffer from severe malnutrition, 45% of deaths of children less than five years being linked to malnutrition” adding that the DR Congo remains one of the countries with the biggest food crisis in the world, with nearly 26 million persons confronted with food insecurity.
“I am profoundly preoccupied by the situation to which several children and mothers are confronted. Nobody should feel the pains of hunger and the fear of sleeping on an empty stomach. We are very grateful to the French government for this generous contribution at a crucial moment in the DR Congo where hunger among children remains a serious preoccupation”, declared Peter Musoko, Country Director of the WFP in the DR Congo.
Besides providing food, the WFP promises to also invest in the reinforcement of competences among breastfeeding mothers with a view to ameliorating their knowledge in healthcare and feeding practices.
“The fight against infant malnutrition is one of the priorities of the humanitarian strategy of the French embassy in the DR Congo. I am convinced of the importance of putting in place these programmes of prevention which target the causes of the crisis and aim at reducing the long-term humanitarian needs. We have supported ten nutrition and food security projects in Kasai Central and Kasai Oriental since 2017. Thanks to this new partnership with the WFP, we have as objective, to bring assistance to more than 90,000 children and 48,000 households”, declared Bruno Aubert, the French ambassador to the DR Congo.
The World Food Programme says it is collaborating with community leaders in order to understand the challenges faced by people and the risks they can take to ensure access to food.
Through its activities, the WFP wants to ensure that its aid responds to different experiences, needs and priorities of women, men and children. In spite of a difficult operational environment, the WFP and its partners have assisted some 1.4 million children as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from malnutrition in October this year.
While the contributions of donors such as France are inestimable, the WFP is in need of a supplementary 90 million US dollars to meet up with the essential activities of treatment and prevention of malnutrition within one year.
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