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Over 40pc Afghan kids suffer from chronic malnutrition

Over 40pc Afghan kids suffer from chronic malnutrition

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Nov 15, 2020 - 18:36

KABULinfo-icon (Pajhwok): A year-long nationwide campaign for reducing malnutrition among children and mothers was launched in Kabul on Sunday, as more than 40 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition and two percent of mothers from anemia.

Financed by Worldinfo-icon Food Program (WFP), the campaign titled "Healthy Diet for All" was launched by the Ministry of Public Healthinfo-icon (MoPH) with the aim to raise awareness about healthy eating in the capital and provinces for a period of one year.

Shafiqullah Hemmat, in charge of health promotion in MoPH, at the opening of the campaign, told Pajhwok Afghan News that Afghan children suffered from various forms of malnutrition as food system of most of people was not healthy.

He said around 40 percent of children suffered from short stature mainly due to unhealthy nutrition. Most of breastfeeding and pregnant mothers also suffer from anemia, which causes many problems and even the risk of death at birth, and the main cause of this issue is also unhealthy nutrition, he added.

The target of the campaign is children, infants, teenagers, pregnant womeninfo-icon, nursing mothers and elderly people. Awareness through this campaign would spread via social media networks, radio, television channels, mosques, schools and other sources for a period of one year, Hemmat said.

Meanwhile, Wahid Majroh, deputy public health minister, said that non-communicable diseases were on the rise due to unhealthy diet and lack of a proper family menu which caused malnourishment among children, heart attacks and stomach related issues.

According to a 2013 survey, 25 percent of mothers suffer from iron deficiency and more than 40 percent of children suffer from short stature and malnutrition because they are not fed based on a healthy nutrition, he said.

"Afghanistaninfo-icon is a poor country in terms of food, if we prepare high food with some more expenses, I think it would help healthy eating,” he said.

Majroh said fatalities caused by traffic accidents were much higher compared to casualties of suicide bombs and explosions, but the tragedy caused by malnutrition was even higher than traffic accidents.

People instead of consuming natural sources such as water and yogurt shakes, they use carbonated drinks and use ready-made food instead of vegetable, he said, adding that wrong food diet caused huge damage to families, health sector and the country’s economy in the long run.

Hasmatullah Ghafori, deputy agricultureinfo-icon minister, talking at the ceremony, said that malnutrition was a global problem, but Afghanistan suffered the most from it.

“There is no problem in the production area, but the problem is in the use and preparation of these products as well as distribution,” he said.

He said most of Afghans used wheat in their food which he added was not healthy and not economic for the country.

mds/ma

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