MSF mobile clinic in Ranobe. April 2021.

A nutritional emergency linked to global warming: Digging for food

On Wednesday, July 28, 2021

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At the moment, we are treating severe and moderate malnutrition, but also associated pathologies which are often malaria, intestinal parasitosis and diarrhoea.

There are people who seem to have come a long way. Today there are many people. We usually stay here for two days because we can't see everyone on the first day. We try to prioritise those who have a long way to go, who come from far away.

We arrived at a food crisis so we deployed in an emergency. We chose this method because the health centres in the region cannot cope with a crisis of this scale. We suspect that this crisis will last and may get worse during the year. We will be here a little longer than we thought.

Magninavoatse, father: "We have no money to treat our daughter. We have no more zebu, no more goat. Everything has been stolen by bandits, even the cooking pots. We have nothing left, that's why she is in this state. 

‘We eat nothing but tubers. We dig the earth to find them. Such bad food can only make you sick".

She is not getting enough oxygen. She has a heart problem, we're not sure what it is and she would also need a transfusion. She has anaemia and she needs blood. Her condition needs to be supervised so we send her, accompanied by medical staff in our MSF car to Ambovombe. There our hospital teams will be able to take care of her.

Given the context, the worst drought in 30 years, deforestation, sandstorms, etc., providing medical care for malnutrition is not enough. It has to be accompanied by food distribution.

People have no food, they can no longer harvest, there are no jobs, no economic income. Covid-19 also makes it difficult to operate, to move, and to deliver resources.  

Since March 2021, MSF emergency teams have been combating malnutrition in 18 hard-to-reach areas through mobile clinics, facilitating access to water, and have opened an intensive nutritional recovery centre for critically ill children within the hospital in the town of Ambovombe. Since the intervention began at the end of March, around 5,500 people under the age of 10 have been treated by MSF for moderate or severe malnutrition

MSF has already distributed 250 tonnes of food. To ensure that distributions continue until October, MSF has ordered an additional 750 tonnes of food. Since March, MSF has distributed 190 cubic meters of water, 2,872 jerry cans and 3,870 bars of soap

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