Daily Dose News in a nutshell What's Up World?

Child malnutrition in Haiti is yet another side-effect of COVID-193 min read

July 9, 2021 3 min read


Child malnutrition in Haiti is yet another side-effect of COVID-193 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Haiti became the Caribbeans’ first independent nation after ousting the French in the 19th century. However, it has seen a series of protests, coups, and dictatorships. Most recently, Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise was shot dead by unidentified attackers stirring fears of prolonged crisis. Amidst all this political turmoil, Haiti has also been battling the pandemic. The pandemic not only affected 19,107 citizens of the country but also led to extreme economic crisis.

On Many 26, 2021 UNICEF reported that severe acute malnutrition is expected to more than double in Haiti this year, owing to the pandemic and the ongoing violence in the country.

According to WHO, “Malnutrition refers to deficiencies, excesses, or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy and/or nutrients.” It can be categorised under three broad heads:
1. Undernutrition, marked by stunting (low height for age), wasting (low weight for height), and underweight (low weight for age)
2. Micronutrient deficiency, marked by the absence of essential vitamins and minerals
3. Overweight and obesity, and other diet related diseases (cancer, heart stroke etc)

Sourced from WHO

Malnutrition is a pandemic in its own right. Even in India, one in every three children is suffering from malnutrition. 14% of India’s population suffers from malnutrition.

What does malnutrition look like? It causes poor skin quality, loss of hair, slower heart rate, bloated stomachs, cold hands and feet, brittle hair. Image: Rappler

The statement released by UNICEF warned that close to 86,000 children could suffer from severe acute malnutrition as against 40,000 from the previous year. Currently, one in five children in Haiti is malnourished, and one in ten is severely malnourished.

Marie Rose Emile watches over her 6-month-old grandson Jonise as he is treated for malnutrition at the Hospital of Immaculate Conception, in Les Cayes, Haiti, Image: CNN

While acute malnutrition is nutritional deficiency marked by less energy and protein, severe acute malnutrition is the most extreme form of malnutrition. It is also the most visible form making its victims look frail and skeletal. it is marked by severe stunting and wasting. While severe acute malnutrition is projected to double over next year in Haiti, acute malnutrition has increased 61%. Close to 2,17,000 children under the age of five could suffer from acute malnutrition as against 1,34,000 from in the same age group last year.

UNICEF representatives believe that survival from this endemic depends entirely on availability of life-saving treatment which requires additional funding. Last year, UNICEF could save 33,372 acutely malnourished children through medicines and nutrition supplies. But the agency is running out of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food soon.
An additional funding of three million USD is needed to buy essential medicines and supplies for recovery and prevention.

With excerpts from CNN and BBC

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *