Our hunger games

18 October 2019 | Columns

A global report that tracks the state of hunger worldwide has found that Namibia’s ‘score’ is worse than war-torn countries such as Iraq and Iran.

We are facing a crisis of immense proportions, as unemployment and poverty levels rise.

In the 2019 Global Hunger Index, Namibia ranks 84th out of 117 countries. It says Namibia is among the 43 countries that have "serious levels of hunger".

The index, which is now in its 13th year, ranks countries based on four key indicators, namely undernourishment, child mortality, child wasting and child stunting.

Today we unpack the State of the World’s Children Report, which says the prevalence of Namibian children under five who are stunted, wasted or overweight is between 30% and 39.9%. 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 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%.

All these statistics belie what an immense crisis we are facing as a nation, as families go hungry and children waste away. Hunger and malnutrition make the body weak and vulnerable, while pregnant and malnourished mothers deliver underweight babies. In the process, we are destroying the next generations of Namibians, on whose shoulders should rest the future of our nation. The time to act was yesterday!

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