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UNICEF report on malnutrition in Central Darfur “inaccurate”: minister

July 7, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The government of Central Darfur state said the health situation is stable in all localities denying existence of malnutrition cases in Jebel Marra area as claimed by the United Nations.

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A child suffering from severe acute malnutrition is treated at a feeding centre near El Geneina in West Darfur in April 2013 (Photo: El Sadiq/UNICEF)

In its weekly bulletin on 24 June, the U.N Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said a recent survey conducted by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) found critical levels of acute malnutrition in Jebel Marra.

According to OCHA, UNICEF carried out campaigns to combat the spike in malnutrition in West and Central Jebel Marra localities in Central Darfur State.

“The first of four rounds of the campaign covered 69 villages in West Jebel Marra locality and 83 villages in Central Jebel Marra locality, where 42,667 children under five years of age were screened for acute malnutrition,” it said.

“Of these, nearly 800 were suffering from SAM, including 258 with oedema, while 3,909 children had moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). All children with SAM were admitted to Outpatient Therapeutic Feeding Programmes (OTPs),” it added.

However, the health minister of Central Darfur state, Musa Khatir, said the UNICEF report is “inaccurate”, pointing the UN body issued its report without consulting with the official organs on the authenticity of the information.

He told the semi-official Sudan Media Center (SMC) that his ministry dispatched an integrated health team to Jebel Marra to investigate the situation on the ground, saying the team carried out a comprehensive survey and found that the area is free of any cases of malnutrition.

According to Khatir, health service is delivered in a satisfactory manner to Jebel Marra area.

U.N agencies estimate that more than 120,000 people have been displaced by the fierce clashes which occurred last year between the government army and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid al-Nur in Jebel Marra.

Jebel Marra, which spans over three states including North, Central and South Darfur, is located at a water-rich area that is characterized by mild climate.

On 12 April 2016, the Sudanese army declared Darfur a region free of rebellion following the capture of Srounq area, the last SLM-AW stronghold in Jebel Marra.

(ST)