DRC plagued by alarming famine rate

2012-10-30 22:37

Brazzaville - The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest rate of malnutrition in central and west Africa, affecting 43% of children under five, Unicef said on Tuesday.

In central Africa, "some countries have a rate of chronic malnutrition which is still alarming", Marianne Flach, the representative of the UN children's agency in Congo, said at the opening of a regional workshop on reducing malnutrition.

At least 75 experts from different countries in central Africa came to take part in the workshop, which will continue until Thursday in a northern suburb of Brazzaville.

The DR Congo, affected by successive wars, is followed by the Central African Republic (40.7%) and Cameroon (32.5%), Flach said, adding that the Congo Republic had 175 000 young children suffering from chronic malnutrition, or a rate of 24.4%.

"Chronic malnutrition is a plague that affects several countries in the world and in Africa. It is the underlying cause of 35% of deaths in the world and can appear in different forms," Flach added, calling for a "co-ordinated multi-sector response" to eradicate the problem.

According to Unicef, chronic malnutrition shows itself in children by a delayed growth rate, which has "a very negative impact on the health of the child, because he or she runs a higher risk of being infected by chronic non-infectious diseases".