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Ethiopia Drought: UNICEF Appeals For $36 Million

After More Drought, UNICEF Appeals For $36 Million To Save Ethiopian Children

New York, Aug 9 2005 4:00PM

With another poor harvest in Ethiopia due to drought and half a million children dying in the country every year from malnutrition and disease, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) appealed today for an additional $35.93 million for its water, sanitation and child-survival outreach assistance.

Its child survival programme, or Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS), a partnership between UNICEF, the UN World Food Programme and the Ethiopian Government, provides nutritional screenings, supplements, vaccinations, referral to supplementary or therapeutic feeding programmes and bed nets to stop malaria.

The programme is aimed at 6.8 million children under five as well as pregnant and nursing mothers in 325 drought-stricken districts, the agency said. It is highly valued by drought affected families, UNICEF said.

"We came to know the value of vaccinations when a sick girl was brought here," said Bono Belante, from the village of Tinishu Wegnaki, explaining the popularity of the programme.

"[Health workers] tied something around her arm and then told us there was something wrong with the child and that we should bring her in. When we saw they had cured her, we believed the doctors would know when there is disease and if the children need treatment. We are bringing so many of our children for treatment after seeing them make that girl well again."

The health services of EOS are delivered twice a year in villages such as Tinishu Wegnaki, which is two hours walking distance from the nearest basic health facilities.

Earlier this year UNICEF Ethiopia appealed for nearly $55 million to support Ethiopia's most vulnerable children during 2005. Half way through the year less than 75 per cent of that sum had been received.

In June the agency warned that 170,000 Ethiopian children would die from malnutrition this year if not treated, double the number of children who die of malnutrition during what it called a "normal" year.

Since then contributions received from Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States have filled a quarter of the funding gap.

ENDS

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