African countries like Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, and Swaziland to name a few, have had problems with food security and as a result, hunger and poverty affect the most vulnerable members of society. The children. Due to this, a lot of children suffer from malnutrition. It is important to understand the consequences this could have on the future generation.
Undernourished children are those who weigh too little for their age or are of a low height for their age, or are stunted, a condition which causes long term physical impairment. These children are at higher risk of anaemia, various infections and death. If they stay alive, they are more likely to repeat classes or quit education altogether. If they grow up to be adults, they will earn less in both manual and non-manual jobs because of their reduced physical capacity and educational attainment.
Being a malnourished child means there will be a lot more medical bills and school expenses to pay. Reduced income and loss of workers due to early deaths weigh heavily on families, the education and healthcare system and also the wider economy. For instance, a report based on research led by the African Union estimated that more than 7 percent of school repetitions in Uganda are attributable to undernutrition, costing US$9.5 million a year, while in Ethiopia, the workforce has been reduced by 8 percent due to child undernourishment.
Malnutrition has health, social and economic impact and this is why there’s been so many years of food security debate, research and policies to try and alleviate the huge burden facing the African continent. Unfortunately, we are not there yet as malnutrition is a huge burden many countries in the African continent still face.