BALTIMORE—In South Sudan, where the United Nations has declared the world’s first famine since 2011, Lutheran World Relief (LWR) is partnering with IMA World Health to set up and run life-saving medical centers that will treat young children at risk of death from starvation.
LWR and IMA World Health will run three treatment centers in the Great Upper Nile Region in northern South Sudan in areas where there are no other emergency medical facilities, and will focus on children under 5 who are so severely malnourished that they are near death. Many of these children are also suffering from malaria or diseases causing severe diarrhea, which exacerbate malnutrition. Children and mothers nursing infants will receive 24-hour care until they are disease-free and the children reach a healthy weight.
LWR will also run an outpatient monitoring and feeding program for children, as well as women who are pregnant or nursing, who are malnourished but not at immediate risk of death and can be treated at home. The treatment centers will serve an area with a population of 290,000, of whom an estimated 4,200 are currently suffering from severe malnutrition. Another 11,000 people are believed to be moderately malnourished.
In this part of South Sudan, a severe food crisis is being fueled by severe drought, compounded by a civil war that has killed 50,000 and displaced nearly 2 million people since December 2013. The conditions are exacerbated by extreme poverty, poor infrastructure and lack of access to services such as health care, education, water and sanitation.
The LWR-IMA collaboration in South Sudan draws on LWR’s expertise in early recovery, livelihood restoration and agricultural production and IMA World Health’s experience in carrying out public health projects. LWR will also work with three local partners in operating the treatment centers: The Nile Hope Development Foundation, Real Medicine Foundation and the John Dau Foundation.
LWR has been working in South Sudan since 2012 in refugee camps and the communities that host them in Unity and Upper Nile states. With its partner, Lutheran World Federation, LWR is addressing child protection needs, ensuring boys and girls have access to basic quality education and develop life and vocational skills, as well as reuniting children in refugee camps who are unaccompanied by adults or who have been separated from their families.
Donate to LWR’s emergency response to the Famine in South Sudan.
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IMA World Health is a faith-based, global nonprofit that helps communities overcome their public health challenges. Founded in 1960 as Interchurch Medical Assistance, the organization has programs in Haiti, Tanzania, Kenya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia.
With nearly 75 years of demonstrated expertise, Lutheran World Relief works in partnership with local communities to build their capabilities and collaborate on long-term solutions to reduce extreme poverty. In times of emergency, LWR is also a trusted partner to distribute aid and ensure people are prepared to withstand the next unexpected challenge. LWR reached more than 3.4 million people in 32 countries in fiscal year 2016. For more information, visit lwr.org.