Malnutrition cases rising among children in Afghanistan’s Badakhshan

KABUL (Agenices): Malnutrition cases among children are on the rise in the remote northeastern province of Badakhshan, as officials from the main hospital reported. Physicians have noted a disturbing surge in malnutrition cases among children in Badakhshan’s leading hospitals. Over the past month, the number of critically malnourished children admitted has exceeded a hundred, raising significant concerns. Medical professionals report that admitted cases predominantly feature severe acute malnutrition, often accompanied by various disorders. In Badakhshan’s provincial hospital, the children’s treatment unit, housing 12 beds, attends to around 24-30 patients monthly. Mohammad Akbar, head of the department, said that due to the gravity of the conditions, each child’s recovery usually entails a two-week stay. “We admit severe acute malnutrition, which is accompanied by a disorder. We have 12 beds that can accommodate about 24 or 30 monthly patients. Every malnourished patient stays for more than two weeks until he is cured and treated,” Mohammad Akbar, head of Badakhshan provincial hospital’s children’s treatment department, said. Some mothers of malnourished children attribute their condition to poverty and hunger. “We cannot afford meat or fruit weekly. We only see them in pictures, not for eating. Without aid, childbirth and survival would be difficult,” says Mursel, a mother of a malnourished child. Doctors point to inadequate nutrition and rising seasonal illnesses as the primary factors behind the surge in child malnutrition. Gholam Rabbani Mushtaq notes that insufficiently treated diarrhoea in summer and pneumonia in winter are significant contributors to child malnutrition. This underscores the urgent need for intervention as children in Badakhshan grapple with life-threatening diseases and malnutrition.