SA celebrates a reduction in hunger on World Food Day

2015-10-16 10:46

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Today is World Food Day, and South Africa has reason to celebrate – it is making slow and steady progress in reducing hunger. 

This is according to the the 2015 Global Hunger Index, which was released this week. 

The index showed a steady decrease in the proportion of undernourished in population, the prevalence of wasting in children under five years, the prevalence of stunting in children under five years and the under-five mortality rate. 

The index rated South Africa’s hunger index as “moderate”, and it showed an improvement in South Africa’s hunger index score of 8.6 points in the past decade. In 2005 the country’s score was 21, and this year it was rated as 12.4. 

Scores among the 117 countries in the report varied widely. Scores of 9.9 or lower denote low hunger; scores between 35.0 and 49.9 denote alarming hunger. This year no countries hit the threshold of 50, which signifies extremely alarming hunger levels.

“Yet, it is impossible to know exactly how severe hunger is in some of the world’s poorest countries that lack GHI scores,” said a statement released by the International Food Policy Research Institute, which is based in Washington in the United States. 

The report showed that the countries in Africa south of the Sahara with the lowest hunger levels are South Africa, Gabon, Mauritius and Ghana. 

The countries with the highest hunger levels within the same category are: Central African Republic, Chad, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Madagascar. 

Hunger in these countries is considered “alarming”. 

Since 2000, Rwanda, Angola, and Ethiopia have seen the biggest reductions in hunger, with GHI scores down by between 25 and 28 points in each country. 

Africa south of the Sahara has a higher level of hunger than any other region on the planet. 

Despite improvements such as strong economic growth and public health advances, such as lower transmission levels and better treatment of HIV/AIDS and fewer cases of malaria, the high levels of hunger in Africa south of the Sahara are still cause for concern. 

Tremendous progress has been made toward eliminating global hunger: 

» The level of hunger in developing countries has fallen by 27% since 2000; 

» Sixty-eight countries – including 27 in Africa South of the Sahara – made considerable progress with scores that dropped by between 25% and 49.9%; and 

» Globally, despite the progress made, levels of hunger remain “serious” or “alarming” in 52 of the 117 countries with GHI scores. The 2015 GHI score for the developing world is 21.7, which is still considered “serious”. 

Despite the improvements, problems persist around the world: 

» 795 million people are still chronically undernourished – about one in nine on the planet; 

» More than one in four children are affected by stunting; and 9% of children are affected by wasting; 

» Conflicts are strongly associated with severe hunger. The countries with the highest GHI scores tend to be those engaged in or recently emerged from war; and 

» Central African Republic and Chad are the worst-scoring countries in this year’s GHI. Both have experienced violent conflict and political instability in recent years.

Read the full report

Read more on:    sub-saharan africa  |  hunger

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