Since late August 2017 over 620,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the violence in their homeland. More than half of them are children – many in need of life saving support. After days and weeks on the run, many are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, an illness caused by a lack of suitable food and vitamins.
In response UNICEF is working to screen all children under the age of 5 for malnutirion and referring the sick for immediate treatment. UNICEF is also providing children with vitamin supplements and deworming tablets.
It was in one of these screening centres that our team met baby Atica. She and her family had to flee their home when the army set fire to their village. Even after finding safety in Bangladesh, the harsh living conditions and lack of suitable food mean that Atica became malnourished. As her health worsened she became quieter and more withdrawn. Her sister Musaddeka,11, carried her sick baby sister to a UNICEF nutrition clinic.
In this photo a UNICEF health worker is using a mid upper arm circumference band to measure Atica’s weight. Sadly the red level on the band shows that Atica is at the worst level of malnutrition and in need of urgent treatment.
Here Atica’s sister recieves some ready to use theraputic food from health workers. This miracle food – an enriched peanut paste – is high in calories and vitamins. Exactly what Atica needs.
Just one short week later and Atica is doing much better. Musaddeka’s care and regular feedings of theraputic food and clean water mean that she has gained weight and her health is improving.
Ten days after she was first seen and although she is not yet fully recovered Atica has made real progress. She is alert and has begun to laugh and play again.
She and Musaddeka continue to make regular trips to the health centre to make sure she is doing okay, but Atica is well down the road to recovery.
Atica’s story is the same as so many Rohingya children, especially under the age of 5. On the 15th of November 2018 UNICEF treated over12,100 children aged between 6 months and 5 years old for a lack of vitamins. Over 3,500 children were referred to treatment centres like the one that helped Atica.
Over the next six months, nearly 17,000 Rohingya children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are expected to receive the same level of support as Atica.
UNICEF is already delivering clean water, theraputic food, medicine to Rohingya children but as more arrive our resources are stretched to the limit. We need your help to bring emergency therapeutic food to children like Atica.
Please donate today.