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
(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
disparity between urban and rural children than other types of malnutrition.
Ali al-Mudhwahi, director of the family health department at the Ministry of
IRIN the stunting rate stood at 53.1%, wasting at 12.5%, and underweight
45.6%. These three indicators, he said, were used for measuring the malnutrition
for children under five. “There are 4.1 million children under five in Yemen,”
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.
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
on the ability of the body to absorb nutrients.
Al-Mudhwahi said his department has made efforts to reduce the problem of
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
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
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.”
of upload: 3rd April 2008