Namibia's 'wasted' children

The world's hungriest children live in Africa, and Namibia is no exception when it comes to wasted, stunted and malnourished children.

18 October 2019 | Disasters

The latest State of the World's Children Report says at least one in three children under five suffer from malnutrition in its more visible forms: stunting, wasting and overweight.

According to this report, 4% of 1 000 children under five in Namibia die because of stunting, wasting or overweight.

This is compared to the global figure of about 15 000 children under five that die every day.

This report comes at a time when the world is commemorating 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

According the report, the prevalence of Namibian children under five who are stunted, wasted or overweight is between 30% and 39.9 %.

The report says in many communities, especially where short stature is common, the extent to which children are stunted is not fully recognised.

Because of its lifelong consequences for children's development, such failures are serious, not just for the well-being of individual children, but for broader economic and social development.

The report states that the percentage of wasted children under five in Namibia stands at around 6.2% while West and Central Africa have recorded a wastage rate of about 9%.

The report states that the causes of child malnutrition are more complex and far-reaching today than they were in 1990.

According to this report, unplanned urbanisation and climate change are some of the major factors that contribute to the malnutrition of the poorest and most excluded children.

The report states that a chemical pesticide is up to ten times more toxic to a child than to an adult.

“Few empirical studies exist on aspects beyond poverty and gender. For a larger, more sustainable impact, practitioners will need to pay explicit attention to addressing marginalisation and gender inequities that underpin disparities in the longer term,” the report states.

JEMIMA BEUKES

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