The British charity Save the Children-UK, has revealed that 2.6 million children died yearly from malnutrition globally. The organization made the disclosure Wednesday in a report released here on child hunger and nutrition entitled ‘A Life Free from Hunger- Tackling child malnutrition.’
The official launch, held at the Young Men Christian Association or YMCA on Broad Street, Monrovia, brought together individuals from the public and the private sectors as well as members of civil society organizations and the media.
Dr. Olusola Oladehi, who is the Health Program Manager for Save the Children-UK, said malnutrition is the underlying cause of death of 2.6 million children each year in one-third of the global total of children deaths.
According to him, every hour each day, about 300 children die of malnutrition and it is underlying cause for more than a third of children’s deaths. “But it’s not recorded on death certificates and, as a result, it’s not effectively addressed”, he told the gathering.
The report notes that even for those who survive, long-term malnutrition causes devastating and irreversible damage. “Lack of nutritional food, coupled with infection and illness, means their bodies and brain don’t develop properly. At least “70 million are affected by stunting. That means that not only are they too short for their age, they’re also likely to enroll at school later and to do less academically”, the report indicated.
It suggests that action must be taken now to prevent the situation from deteriorating, noting that more children suffer lifelong consequence. By mid-2013, it will already be too late to make a difference to the last generation of children, who will reach their second birthday, according to the report.
It warns that if current trends continue, the lives of more than 450 million children globally would be affected by stunting in the next 15 years. Acting Assistant Minister for Preventive Services at the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Madam Jessie Duncan, launched the report.