Ethiopia Launches Program To Relieve Children Chronic Malnutrition

Category: World / Jun 28, 2013 3:20PM EDT

Ethiopia has recently launched a two-and-a-half-year nutrition program to help relieve chronic malnutrition, which many children suffer from in the country.

Children in conflict-ridden nations in Africa suffer the most from malnutrition.

According to the World Health Organization, there has been an increase in stunting among the poorest urban population in Africa from 35 percent to 37 percent.

"Almost every country in Africa today has an acute rate of malnutrition. The question is how high it goes. So today for example, the highest rate of malnutrition would be in countries such as Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan, and Somalia particularly for example. Many of the countries that are bordering Ethiopia have severe acute malnutrition," said Dr. Peter Salama, UNICEF Representative.

Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the world's highest rates of chronic malnutrition among children. The United Nations children's agency, UNICEF, estimates that chronic child malnutrition costs African countries a staggering 25 billion U.S. dollars a year in loss of productivity and health costs that otherwise might have been avoided.

 It is these numbers that called for a meeting in Ethiopia's capital.

"African countries in general still have substantial problems under nutrition. There are many stunting children in the world and in fact the prevalence of stunting is almost highest in most of the African countries along with south Asia. The rate of improvement, the rate reduction in stunting is slowest in sub-Saharan Africa," said Professor E. Black, Bloomberg School of Public Health.

African and international leaders, as well as key stakeholders in the food security sector, will meet at the African Union headquarters starting June 30. They will discuss renewing the partnership for a unified approach to end hunger in Africa by 2025.

Video Credit: Reuters