Yemen Report

 

Malnutrition severely stunting growth of children

An international report has said child malnutrition remains a concern in Yemen as nearly one-third of children aged 2-5 are severely stunted.

Entitled Yemen Poverty Assessment, the report was released in Yemen in December last year. Prepared by Yemen’s government, the World Bank, and UN Development Programme
(UNDP), it said poverty was associated with the prevalence of severe stunting and underweight among Yemeni children. It said data on severe stunting showed a greater
disparity between urban and rural children than other types of malnutrition.

Ali al-Mudhwahi, director of the family health department at the Ministry of Health, told
IRIN the stunting rate stood at 53.1%, wasting at 12.5%, and underweight accounted for
45.6%. These three indicators, he said, were used for measuring the malnutrition status
for children under five. “There are 4.1 million children under five in Yemen,” he said.

According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), child malnutrition rates in Yemen are amongst the highest in the world, with infant and underfive mortality rates estimated at 76 and 102 per 1,000 live births, respectively.

Qat

The organisation says expenditure on qat [the mild narcotic widely consumed in the country] is largely at the expense of food consumption and qat has an adverse effect
on the ability of the body to absorb nutrients.

Al-Mudhwahi said his department has made efforts to reduce the problem of malnutrition
in the country through a number of initiatives. “We select volunteers from the community who visit families in rural areas and assess the nutrition conditions of children and mothers according to certain criteria (like weight and growth). Volunteers can then refer malnourished children and mothers to health facilities. This is applied in 20 districts in six governorates. We are trying to expand this activity into other governorates,” he said.

 

250 infants die daily

A new report – The State of the World's Children - Child Survival (released 22 January) –by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said half of the world's countries, including Yemen, are making insufficient progress towards Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4, which aims to reduce the global under-five mortality rate by two-thirds between 1990 and 2015.

According to IRIN (22 January 2008 ) the report ranked Yemen the 41st worst country in terms of its underfive child mortality rate. Some 84,000 children under five die every year in Yemen, which is equivalent to 250 deaths every day.

UNICEF representative in Yemen Aboudou Karimu Adjibade said this year the State of the World’s Children brings into sharp focus issues surrounding child survival and “where we stand”.

“Many Yemeni children and women are victims of neglect, abuse, and exploitation. Discrimination prevails throughout the life cycle. The cumulative impact of some of these harmful practices is reflected in one of the highest rates of malnutrition among children, a very high maternal mortality rate, and we find Yemen trailing on the Human Development Index, sometimes even behind countries that have even worse economic indicators,” Adjibade said.

According to Abjibade, the report goes beyond the numbers to suggest actions and initiatives that should lead to further progress. “Each day we are still seeing 26,000 under fives die around the world, mostly from preventable causes. Nearly all of them live in developing countries and Yemen is among them,” he said.

Yemeni Minister of Health Abdul-Karim Rasei said Yemen had made progress in reducing
child mortality by increasing vaccination against polio and measles: “In 2005, 1,200 children died of measles but in 2007 no case was reported. Four hundred cases of polio
were reported in 2005 but since February 2006 no case has been reported.”


 Date of upload: 3rd April 2008

                                  
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