UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman is in the Democratic Republic of the Congo for a five-day visit to assess the situation of women and children amidst what is widely seen as Africa's worst humanitarian crisis. Here is the first in a series of related reports.
OCCIDENTAL PROVINCE, Democratic Republic of the Congo, 26 August 2009 Local health centres here have opened their doors for the weighing and measuring of young children. Its a simple check on child health status, but it is having a dramatic impact.
The community approach to treating malnutrition began in 2008, when the Government of DR Congo adopted a national protocol and training modules for health and community workers. UNICEF, along with a network of 43 partner organizations, is helping expand those services to more health zones around the country.
Community volunteers visit homes and invite mothers of malnourished children to weekly nutrition sessions at the clinics, which aim to educate them on how to prepare healthy food cheaply.
DR Congo has a long way to go before all its children are guaranteed their right to survival. Many combined factors weak health systems, poor vaccination coverage, lack of access to safe water, inadequate sanitation, widespread malnutrition and diseases such as malaria still threaten millions of young lives
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