UNICEF sees malnutrition increasing in Zimbabwe

Harare- Zimbabwe (PANA) -- Malnutrition levels are rising among Zimbabwean children and women due to drought, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said Thursday.
In a report based on a nationwide survey on nutritional levels, the UN agency said that children aged between 6 and 59 months and childbearing women between 15 and 49 years were particularly malnourished.
At least 6.
7 million people in Zimbabwe are facing food shortages, especially in rural areas, due to drought.
"The results (of the survey) indicate high levels of malnutrition.
Approximately 7.
3 per cent of the children were wasted, 41.
3 per cent were stunted and 24.
7 per cent were underweight," said UNICEF.
"The results reflect a trend of worsening nutritional status when compared with previous surveys.
The survey examined the number of meals eaten by children in the households sampled.
The majority of children, 44 per cent had only two meals a day whilst 25.
5 per cent had eaten one meal or had not eaten in the previous day," it said.
The agency said the situation had been made worse by HIV/AIDS, which made it difficult for women to work or look for food.
"Reduced food supply has serious consequences on food intake of infected individuals as their nutritional needs are much higher than normal individuals.
The nutritional status of other individuals living in HIV/AIDS infected households is also likely to suffer resulting in malnutrition," said UNICEF.
"HIV/AIDS affects food security by reducing food availability through decreased productivity and land use by infected individuals.
Furthermore, the labour of healthy individuals is diverted into other activities such as caring for those infected and attending the funerals of those who have died," said the agency.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV/AIDS infection levels in Africa, with an estimated 26 per cent of the country's entire adult population believed to carry the virus of the disease.

26 september 2002 22:33:00




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