WHO in initiative to raise funds to fight hunger

Stunted maize stocks in a farm in Mbeere, Embu County due to failed rains. [Muriithi Mugo, Standard]

The World Health Organisation Foundation has launched a fundraising campaign to raise funds to respond to the drought crises in the Horn of Africa and the Sahel region in Africa.

According to WHO, 28 million people in the greater Horn of Africa are acutely food insecure. These countries include parts of Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. The situation, WHO notes, has worsened health risks in the region with access to health care deteriorating.

The hunger crises are linked to droughts and severe flooding in some areas, compounded by years of conflict and instability, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and rising food prices.

"Over 28 million people across Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda, are experiencing extreme hunger, making them vulnerable to malnutrition, infection, disease and death," WHO noted in a statement.

In the Sahel region, it is estimated that more than 33 million people across Burkina Faso, the Far-North of Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Niger, and North-East Nigeria will need life-saving assistance - an increase of more than 25 percent over the last five years.

WHO Africa Regional Director Dr Matshidiso Moeti said that while millions of people are facing starvation in the region, humanitarian assistance has been hampered by low funding.

"The worsening humanitarian crises in the Sahel and across the Horn of Africa that have driven millions of people to extreme deprivation and to the brink of starvation require urgent action. Humanitarian assistance, including emergency health services, has been severely impaired by chronically low funding," Dr Matshidiso said. "Without an immediate response, millions of lives risk being lost as these emergencies slip off the world's attention."

WHO noted that in the greater Horn of Africa, countries face concurrent outbreaks of measles, cholera, yellow fever, dengue, malaria, and meningitis.

"Hunger is a direct threat to the health and survival of millions of people in the Sahel and greater Horn of Africa, but it also weakens the body's defences and opens the door to disease. WHO is looking to people around the world to support our work on the ground responding to this dual threat, providing treatment for malnourished people and defending them against infectious diseases," WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.

The Standard
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