AMMAN – Together with partners Save the Children Jordan and Medair, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a nutrition programme for the treatment and prevention of moderate acute malnutrition among Syrian refugee women and children living in camps and communities in Jordan.
A joint Nutrition Survey was conducted by WFP, sister UN agencies and NGOs in cooperation with the Jordanian Ministry of Health and the government Department of Statistics to assess the nutrition situation and requirements of Syrian refugees living in Jordan. The survey found that four percent of Syrian refugees under the age of five and more than six percent of pregnant and breastfeeding women require treatment for Moderate Acute Malnutrition.
“As refugee families continue to arrive in Jordan each day, the effects of living for long periods with problems getting food on the local markets in Syria are becoming clearer,” explained Jonathan Campbell, WFP’s Emergency Coordinator for Syrian refugees in Jordan. “WFP wants to make sure that we meet the refugees’ food and nutrition needs so WFP is working with its partners to support the development of a healthy next generation of Syrians.”
“Malnutrition is an underlying cause of death of children under the age of five around the world. During the critical period from conception to two years of age - the first 1,000 days of life - chronic malnutrition can have irreversible effects on the mental and physical development of children,” explained Manal Wazani, the Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children Jordan.
Through Save the Children Jordan, WFP is distributing the specialised, fortified Super Cereal Plus to all pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers and children under five in Zaatari refugee camp. Meanwhile, another partner, Medair, in coordination with the Jordan Health Aid Society (JHAS), is assisting refugees living in towns in the governorates of Irbid, Zarqa, Mafraq, Amman and Ramtha. Provision of the nutritional supplement for the urban refugees is taking place at six JHAS clinics across the country and through a mobile outreach team that visits families and delivers the nutrition product to their homes. Patients can recover from moderate acute malnutrition with approximately four months of treatment using Super Cereal Plus.
“Medair has seen a great improvement in the health and nutrition of the young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The patients are responding well and they are happy with the care they receive from our community teams and clinic workers,” said Gabriele Fänder, Medair’s Regional Health and Nutrition Advisor.
WFP is also providing food assistance to over half a million Syrian refugees in Jordan through an innovative food voucher programme that allows refugees to purchase the food items of their choice including fresh meat and produce from local Jordanian shops.
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WFP is the world’s largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. Last year, WFP reached more than 97 million people in 80 countries with food assistance.