Yemeni Parents Lose Child Due to Malnutrition

Yousuf has lost two of his children who died of malnutrition. Now, his third child, who is one year old, only weighs 6 pounds and is in dire need of emergency assistance. There are hundreds of thousands of other toddlers in Yemen who are struggling with acute malnutrition.

Yemeni children
Illustration. Hundreds of thousands of children in Yemen are acutely malnourished. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, YAMAN – Malnutrition is one of the causes of death of children in Yemen. Mohammed Yousuf, one of the residents in Yemen, said he had lost two of his children who died of malnutrition. Her first child died at the age of 6 months. While the second child at the age of 4 months

"Losing my child while I am watching is breaking my heart," Mohammed Yousuf says as he tries to calm his crying son. "I feel so worried for my son. I won't rest until my son is completely healed."

Yousuf lives in Yemen. His 1-year-old son, Abdullah, has been at a health facility in Sanaa, the capital, where doctors are feeding him reconstituted milk from powder formulated for children with malnutrition to keep him alive.

The doctor's diagnosis of severe acute malnutrition is a medical classification reserved for the worst cases. Yousuf and his wife, Fadiah, traveled 15 hours by bus through dozens of military checkpoints to bring their child to the facility in Sanaa. 

On Dec. 5, Abdullah weighed 6 pounds on his fifth day of treatment for severe acute malnutrition, says his attending clinician, Dr. Abdelmalek Mohammed. That's less than one-third of the average weight for his age. He hopes that his child will recover and be healthy, although he is also worried that the health service will run out of medicine for his child.

Yousuf lost his job as a farm laborer last year when farmers couldn't get diesel — required to run the pumps for irrigation and drinking water — because of fuel shortages caused by the war. Now, his family depends completely on aid, which he says allows them to eat one small daily meal.

The UN has warned that 16 million Yemenis, more than half of the population, are "marching towards starvation", and unless the international community steps up support, food assistance could soon start to run out. The figures show that more than half of Yemen's total population – which numbers less than 30 million people – is struggling to find food to survive tomorrow. This food insecurity is also the cause of the high rate of child malnutrition in Yemen.

Based on UNICEF Yemen Humanitarian Situation Report, UNICEF continued its lifesaving multi-sectoral integrated Nutrition programming, to address close to 400,000 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 2.25 million children at risk of acute malnutrition. The number also has the potential to increase every year as the conflict in Yemen continues to be unresolved.[]