• September 22nd, 2019

One in four Namibian children under age 5 stunted

WINDHOEK - One in four Namibian children under the age of five are stunted. Stunting is when a child does not grow or develop properly which results in them having a low height for their age, usually due to malnutrition, repeated infections and poor social stimulation.

Stunting is caused mostly by household poverty, food insecurity and inadequate nutrition which can impede the growth and development of a child including their mental and physical development.

Minister of Economic Planning and Director-General of the National Planning Commission Obeth Kandjoze, in a speech read on his behalf by the ministry’s Executive Director Annely Haiphene, said Namibia’s current nutrition profile threatens its future, as about 24 percent of children are stunted. 

“But what is hunger, what type of hunger are we talking about today? It is not just about physical food. It is also the type of nutrients in the food that we eat. It is the hunger not only of physical food, but also the right food,” said Kandjoze.

The speech was delivered at the launch of the Cost of Hunger in Africa Study (COHA), the Namibia version, in Windhoek yesterday.  

The initiative is led by the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency. It is implemented with the support of the UN World Food Program (WFP) and Economic Commission for Latin America Countries (ECLAC). 

Kandjoze said although Namibia is classified as an upper middle-income country, it produces only 43 percent of the total national food consumption needs according to the latest crop prospects, food security and drought situation report. 

He said as a result of many factors, the 2019 Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment Analysis (VAA) revealed, at the national level about 12 percent of the population is extremely food insecure and needs humanitarian assistance during the drought. 

Kandjoze said an additional 15 percent of the population is moderately food insecure meaning that they would not meet their daily food requirements of 2100 kilocalories. 

He said that achieving the nutrition-related goals of the SDGs, Agenda 2063, World Health Assembly Targets and NDP5 requires that national and sectoral development policies and programmes are complemented by effective community-based actions aimed at improving household food and nutrition security.  

He added that COHA will provide recommendations that will contribute to human capital gain in Namibia and provide the evidence base to justify the need to increase investment in nutrition.

“As government, we are committed to giving full political support and backing in the conduct of this very important study. The study will serve as an advocacy tool that will help us appreciate how much saving as a nation we can make when we invest in nutrition,” he said.

Staff Reporter
2019-09-13 07:51:18 9 days ago


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