One in every three children in Zimbabwe suffers from chronic malnutrition, according to a new study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
A recent Unicef study, a situational analysis on the status of women and children’s rights, concluded that malnutrition could contribute to more than 12 000 deaths a year in the country.
“Zimbabwe’s malnutrition rates are similar to those of other countries in the region, but have climbed sharply since 1994 to reach nearly 40%,” said the report.
The report said suspension of supplementary feeding programmes by some relief non-governmental organisations, had contributed to the sudden increase in malnutrition and lack of access to basic social services had contributed to children’s vulnerability.
“Nutritionists must target children in their first three years or so,” the report reads.
“Without adequate nutrition a child can fail to thrive, affecting early development, encouraging disease and eventually reducing abilities in adulthood.”
According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation, as of 2010, the prevalence rate of malnutrition ranged from 7, 1% in Bulawayo and 24% in Matabeleland North.
Meanwhile, Save the Children, said 7,6% of children aged between six months and five years in Binga were suffering from acute malnutrition.
“The new statistics reflect growing concern that emergency supplies into Zimbabwe are faltering because not enough food is being donated by the international community,” said the organisation.
Save the Children is an organisation that distributes food to more than 200 000 people, using food brought into the country by the World Food Programme.