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Malnutrition: Why this should be of concern

ahmAfrican 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.

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2 thoughts on “Malnutrition: Why this should be of concern

  1. Thank you for this information. A lot of people do not how something like undernutrition can affect a persons later years. as a doctor, i have seen a lot of it in the northern part of Nigeria and some parts of Uganda as well. i helped educate mothers about this but it was very difficult for them to understand me and trust me as an outsider.

  2. I understand what you mean. Northern Nigeria is a peculiar case. A lot of the mothers are either children themselves or married at a very young age and so end up being uneducated. They have a different belief system and health interventions are usually more difficult in areas like that especially if one is an outsider. If a woman marries early, she wont be able to get an education and that will affect the health of her child. However, if a woman is educated, chances are she will have children later on in life and those children generally tend to do better that children of uneducated mothers.

    I should write a post about this especially as the Nigerian senate just passed a law that makes it okay for a child to become a bride. Quite sickening.

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