Maternal Undernutrition Rises in Nigeria, Ethiopia, Ten Other Countries — UNICEF

Maternal Undernutrition Rises in Nigeria, Ethiopia, 10 Others — UNICEF (News Central TV)

The number of pregnant women and nursing mothers who are malnourished has climbed by 25% since 2020 in 12 countries affected by global food crisis. UNICEF warned on Monday, emphasising the negative effects it is having on children’s health.

Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Chad, and Yemen are among the nations mentioned.

The UNICEF report estimates that more than one billion women and adolescent girls suffer from undernutrition, which causes them to be underweight and of short stature, as well as from a deficiency in essential micronutrients as well as from anemia. This estimate is based on data analysis of women in nearly every country in the world.

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The majority of them live in the poorest parts of the world, with South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa home to 60% of anemic people and 68 percent of women and adolescent girls who are underweight.

According to UNICEF, who noted that “bad nutrition is passed down through generations,” these nutritional inadequacies have an effect on not only the women’s well-being but also that of their offspring.

Malnutrition increases the risk of neonatal death, but can also “impair fetal development, with lifelong consequences for children’s nutrition, growth, learning and future earning capacity.”

UNICEF chief executive Catherine Russell

“Globally, 51 million children under two years are stunted. We estimate that about half of these children become stunted during pregnancy and the first six months of life, when a child is fully dependent on the mother for nutrition,” the UNICEF report said.

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In the 12 nations considered to be in a food crisis, it is estimated that between 2020 and 2022, the number of pregnant or nursing women suffering from acute malnutrition increased by 25%, from 5.5 to 6.9 million.

“Without urgent action from the international community, the consequences could last for generations to come,” said UNICEF chief executive Catherine Russell in a statement.

“To prevent undernutrition in children, we must also address malnutrition in adolescent girls and women,” she said.

UNICEF called for priority to be given to women and girls in terms of access to nutritious food, and to implement mandatory measures to “expand large-scale food fortification of routinely consumed foods such as flour, cooking oil and salt to help reduce micronutrient deficiencies and anemia in girls and women.”

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