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Home | Opinions | Social | UNICEF says 9,500 children dying from diarorhea each year in Afghanistan

UNICEF says 9,500 children dying from diarorhea each year in Afghanistan

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UNICEF says 9,500 children dying from diarorhea each year in Afghanistan
 Different widespread disease like diarrhea is killing at least 26 children across Afghanistan, where the total number reach to up to 9, 500 children each year, UNICEF said in a statement on Thursday.
A statement from the organization said that diarrhea-related deaths, which now total 9,500, account for around 12 per cent of the 80,000 deaths of children under the age of five that occur annually in Afghanistan. 
“Using a toilet and washing your hands is literally a matter of life or death and deaths from diarrhea are particularly tragic because in most cases, they can be easily avoided,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative, as quoted by the statement.
According to the finding, the risks associated with diarrheal infections are exacerbated in Afghanistan – a country where some 1.2 million children are already malnourished and 41 per cent of children are stunted.
Poor sanitation and hygiene compound malnutrition, has been said by the statement, to leave children more susceptible to infections that cause diarrhea, which in turn worsens malnutrition.  Enditem
Widespread violence is affecting the lives of many children across Afghanistan but preventable diseases and sickness, such as diarrhea, continue to kill many more
KABUL, NILI, Afghanistan, 02 November 2017 – Although the number of children under five years dying from diarrhea each year in Afghanistan has dropped below 10,000 for the first time, the disease still claims the lives of 26 children each day across the country, UNICEF said today.  
 “Deaths from diarrhoea are particularly tragic because in most cases, they can be easily avoided,” said Adele Khodr, UNICEF Afghanistan Representative. “Using a toilet and washing your hands is literally a matter of life or death.”
Diarrhoea-related deaths, which now total 9,500, account for around 12 per cent of the 80,000 deaths of children under the age of five that occur annually in Afghanistan.
The risks associated with diarrheal infections are exacerbated in Afghanistan – a country where some 1.2 million children are already malnourished and 41 per cent of children are stunted. Poor sanitation and hygiene compound malnutrition, leaving children more susceptible to infections that cause diarrhoea, which in turn worsens malnutrition.
“Providing access to safe water and improved sanitation facilities in villages and towns across the country is critical,” said Khodr. “At the same time, community-led efforts to improve hygiene practices are the simple and most effective way to save lives,” she added.
While insecurity continues to affect humanitarian access to parts of the country and slows development, there is still progress. The district of Nili, in Daykundi province, central Afghanistan, was declared as the country’s first ‘open defecation free district’ at a ceremony on 01 November.
Towns and villages across Nili took on the ‘Community-led Total Sanitation’ approach in which families identify areas around their homes that are used as toilets. Through a combination of shock, shame, pride and disgust, families without a toilet decide to build their latrine. Community-wide commitment and some peer pressure does the rest and typically after three to six months an entire community has given up defecating in the open, contributing to a healthier environment for everyone.
In 2017, UNICEF in Afghanistan has already supported more than 500 Afghan communities to be declared and certified as open defecation free. Global research has shown that in some communities where people now use toilets rather than fields or other outside areas, stunting has been reduced by 23 per cent. Reducing cases of diarrhoea also cuts down on significant health costs that families face when having to treat their children for regular sickness.
According to the statement, in another step forward in tackling nutrition issues, Afghanistan became the 60th country to join the ‘Scaling Up Nutrition’ (SUN) movement on 16 October. The SUN Movement brings together governments, civil society, the United Nations, donors, businesses and researchers to improve nutrition by amplifying the reach and impact of each other’s work.
UNICEF and partners are calling on all districts in the country to adopt the ‘Community-led Total Sanitation’ approach and for donors to support the movement to improve and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the country. 
The Kabul Times 
 

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