Malawi pays high price for child hunger

2015-05-13 19:55
A child with suspected malnutrition is weighed at IMC nutrition programme clinic in Malakal, South Sudan. ( Matthew Abbott, AP)

A child with suspected malnutrition is weighed at IMC nutrition programme clinic in Malakal, South Sudan. ( Matthew Abbott, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Lilongwe - Child malnutrition costs Malawi about $600m a year, with more than half of children aged between 18 and 23 months suffering from stunted growth, according to a new report released on Wednesday.

The study revealed that 82 000 child deaths between 2008 and 2012 were "directly associated" with lack of food, while 60% of the working population suffered from stunted growth before they had reached the age of five.

The African Union and World Food Programme (WFP) report highlighted widespread child malnutrition in Malawi and its dire economic impact, with an estimated 10% of gross national product (GDP) lost each year.

Stunted growth "robs the child's potential of growth in so many ways and it is clear Malawi has much work to do to eliminate stunting," WFP representative Coco Ushiyama told reporters at the study's launch.

"The terrible news is that stunting is irreversible. The good news is it can be prevented.

"[But] the most vulnerable still have difficulty in meeting their annual food needs."

The Cost of Hunger in Africa study, which used the latest data from 2012, also said malnutrition resulted in high health costs and damaged children's ability to learn.

It called on the government to take "action for a drastic reduction of stunting in the next 10 to 15 years" by decentralising how funds are given out, and better coordination and monitoring.

The WFP oversees a programme in Malawi for providing 840 000 children with porridge at school.

Malnutrition a scandal

Finance Minister Goodall Gondwe, who attended the study's launch, told AFP that the number of malnourished children in Malawi was "a scandal".

"We could have done better and done something about it as this has been a problem for many years," he said, vowing more funds and effective government action.

Felix Pensulo Phiri, director at Malawi's Department of Nutrition, told AFP that far more money was needed from the government.

Landlocked Malawi is one of the world's most densely populated and least developed countries, with 80% of the population living in rural areas and the economy largely dependent on agriculture.

Life expectancy is 60 years, and more than half the population live below the poverty line.

Read more on:    au  |  wfp  |  malawi  |  food  |  health

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.