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World News \ Africa

Save the Children: 159 million children chronically malnourished

One-year-old child awaiting treatment for malnourishment in Madagascar - EPA

One-year-old child awaiting treatment for malnourishment in Madagascar - EPA

14/07/2016 18:18

(VATICAN RADIO) Save the Children has released a shocking report titled:  “Unequal Portions. Ending Malnutrition for Every Last Child”.

The report contains information about the 159 million children who are suffering from chronic malnutrition across the world. According to the report, despite a global commitment to eradicate malnutrition by 2030, current trends indicate that there will still be 129 million children under the age of five with stunted growth worldwide.

Katie Ascough spoke with Simona Seravesi, consultant at Save the Children Italy, who first highlighted the main factors which influence child malnutrition.


“In many countries, malnutrition is linked to poverty, to very low hygienic and health conditions, lack of access to education…even inequality due to the different ethnic groups,” said Ms. Seravesi. She also mentioned that sometimes gender, crises, migration, civil war, and natural disasters can contribute to the level of child malnutrition.

When asked if the situation is improving, Ms. Seravesi said, “Despite some progress, this progress has been quite slow and unequal.” She then explained how some ethnic groups or rural areas within the countries showing progress can be left behind and do “not reflect” this image of improvement. “So we have to be extremely careful,” she warned.

When asked what Save the Children recommends that governments do to help stop this crisis of child malnutrition, Ms. Seravesi advised:  “First of all, we actually think that it’s quite important to have a multi-factorial analysis to understand which are the drivers and constraints that lead the malnutrition in different countries.” She then emphasized the importance of governments getting serious about malnutrition by setting a “nutrition target”. She concluded her answer with:  “We strongly believe that the commitment to address malnutrition should start with a moral and legal imperative for the right to food and nutrition for all people.”

Ms. Seravesi encouraged people to remember that fighting malnutrition is “a responsibility of all of us in our daily life…[to] make an awareness about the fact that we are living in a world of 159 million [malnourished] children, which is a shame.”

When asked if eliminating child malnutrition is a realistic goal, Ms. Seravesi exclaimed:  “Of course from my heart I would like to say yes, but at the same time this world is so unstable that maybe in some countries or in some regions of the world you reach relevant progress, and then suddenly on the other side of the world you lose this progress because of civil wars, because of events like ‘El Niño’ that happened recently. So it’s very unpredictable, but at the same time I think that it’s not impossible…Something must be done and something could be done, I think.”

(Katie Ascough)
14/07/2016 18:18