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Did you know that our "Get on Board for Children" programme with MSC Foundation partner UNICEF have saved over 100,000 young lives thanks to millions of unstinting donations by MSC Cruises guests?


As part of these efforts, MSC provided over four years’ continuous support for a UNICEF programme in Malawi. Launched in 2016, the integrated programme provided lifesaving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods, health worker training and community-based assistance to children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, helping it to achieve remarkable results.


The situation when the programme launched was truly dramatic. Repeated droughts and floods had exposed Malawi to chronic food insecurity. In 2016-2017, food aid needs exceeded availability and 6.5 million people were at risk of severe hunger in the country. The global acute malnutrition rate in South Malawi was 6.6% - the highest in the world. As a result, the lives ofover 100,500 children under 5 were threatened by severe acute malnutrition, with its tragic consequences of stunted intellectual and physical development and death. Aggravating the situation considerably in 2019, a total of 868,895 Malawians were impacted by the disastrous flooding caused by Cyclone Idai.


Thanks to the generosity of MSC Cruises guests, we were able to make a big difference. In 2019 alone, the programme distributed 2.25 million sachets of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food,18,000 tins of “Starter Diet” milk, 4,800 tins of “Catch-Up Diet” milk and 1,200 tins of rehydration solution to treat 16,479 children under five suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition. Overall, a total of approximately 68,000 children were treated between 2016 and May 2020, saving many thousands of lives and building the health for these children to fulfil their potential.


Overall, the programme played a major role in reducing the prevalence of Severe Acute Malnutrition in children under 5 in Malawi from 4.1% in 2016 to 1% in 2019.


BettinaJunker, Executive Director of UNICEF Switzerland, commented: “On behalf of the most vulnerable children of Malawi, UNICEF Switzerland would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank the MSC Foundation, the Aponte family and MSC Cruises’ employees and on-board guests for this valuable contribution to reducing child morbidity and mortality from severe acute malnutrition.


Every child deserves the best start in life and that can only be built on sound nutrition. UNICEF and MSC Foundation joined forces to help provide that in Malawi, just as we have in many other countries worldwide during our successful partnership spanning over 10 years.


But it is only with your help that we are able to make such a crucial impact!  On behalf of UNICEF & MSC we would like to thank you for your support and the opportunity to continue working together to bring life and hope to so many wonderful children worldwide.