Benin: UNICEF alerts on severe child malnutrition in north-east Benin

Cotonou, Benin (PANA) – The UNICEF resident representative in Benin, Dr. Anne Vincent, has alerted on severe child malnutrition in Alibori, north-eastern Benin, according to a statement issued here Saturday.

Severe malnutrition level is set at 34.6% in Alibori, according to Dr. Vincent, while commenting on the results of a nutritional survey carried out in March in the area,

Analyzing the results from that survey, the UN official said that "severe malnutrition has remained stagnant" in that part of Benin where it was set at 35.9% in 2011.

Severe malnutrition is due to insufficient food over a long period. It starts in the first 1,000 days in the life of a child, particularly during the nine months of pregnancy, and the early years of life, she said.

A child suffering malnutrition will also suffer stunted growth, limited development of his brain and a reduction in his learning capacities at school.

"Those intellectual and psychological deficits are irreversible," she said.

In Benin, food insecurity, due particularly to poverty, makes families vulnerable to the difficult situations such as floods and they expose children more to malnutrition.

Similarly, access to water and sanitation is essential to ensure adequate nutrition for children and to protect them against diseases and internal infections.

The treatment of water at home, the daily washing of hands with soap and the hygienic evacuation of stools of children represent up to 45% of interventions needed to reduce severe malnutrition.
-0- PANA IT/BEH/MSA/VAO 1June2014

01 june 2014 11:32:30

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