MSF nutritional activities in southern Ethiopia

A combination of several factors, including droughts and a dramatic rise in food prices in the country have resulted in the spread of malnutrition across some regions of Ethiopia this year. In mid-May MSF started emergency nutritional activities in the Oromiya and Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s (SNNP) regions of Ethiopia. Initially it took in charge only severely malnourished patients, mostly children, while since mid-July feeding programmes for moderately malnourished children and their families, have been opened. In these past four months MSF has cared for about 28,000 severely malnourished patients and 21,000 moderately malnourished patients across the different locations. Back in July MSF also made a targeted food distribution for 12.500 people at risk.

At present, the situation seems to be stabilizing in some of these areas and admissions of severe cases into the MSF centres are decreasing. However it is not possible to identify a general trend across the country as the crisis is highly localized in some areas, there are different agro-climatic zones, and the timeframe for rains varies. Pockets of malnutrition are found in other areas and regions such as Afar and Somali region, and MSF medical teams have to remain flexible and ready to respond.

The maize harvest season is due to start soon in the South but in the meantime food distribution remains necessary. Even in places where the rate of admissions is slowly declining, the population continues to need food support, at least for the coming weeks. In SNNPR crowds still throng at the entrance of MSF nutrition centres to try to get something to eat. Despite the several pipelines of food implemented by the Ethiopian government and World Food Program, the needs are still high in some places.

Staff employed in this emergency: more than 700
Budget: 13,3 million (Euros)
Stabilisation Centres opened: 6
Ambulatories (OTPs): 53
Supplementary Feeding Centres: 26