Malnutrition

Dr. Jamila Ya’coob

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Billions of people around the world suffer from malnutrition, and some of them face severe risks as a result of the development of some types, and these risks vary according to the lifestyle and the surrounding environment, in addition to the available resources.

 

In a report published in 2019, the World Health Organization indicated that more than a third of low, and middle-income countries suffer from overlapping types and forms of malnutrition, and the degree of suffering may range from mild to severe and life-threatening. In addition, malnutrition can be a consequence of the extreme starvation, which means consuming insufficient amounts of calories.

 

It is interesting that the phenomenon of malnutrition is a major global problem, especially in the developing countries, where all countries of the world are affected by one or more forms of malnutrition, namely: wasting, stunting, underweight, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and undernutrition leads to rapid vulnerability to disease and death, especially the children.

 

Fighting malnutrition, in all its forms, is one of the biggest challenges facing global health in the world. Infants, children, women and adolescents are especially at risk of malnutrition.

 

Optimal access to nutrition starts with the beginning of the early stages of life and during the first days of life, which extends from the beginning of pregnancy until the child reaches his second year.

 

This age stage of a child’s life is the most important stage of nutrition. If the child does not receive proper nutrition, malnutrition may harm the child’s physical and mental development, as these damages are often permanent, and lead to permanent situations of poverty and unequal opportunities.

 

Today, Yemen is one of the most malnourished countries in the world. Recent figures from the latest IPC report on acute malnutrition, issued by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the World Health Organization (WHO) and their partners indicate a high incidence of malnutrition increased by 16% and 22%, respectively, among children under the age of five years old for the year 2019, and that about 1.2 million pregnant or lactating women in Yemen are expected to suffer from acute malnutrition in 2021.

Years of armed conflict, economic decline, the COVID-19 pandemic and sharply reduced funding for the humanitarian response have pushed exhausted communities to the brink, with growing rates of food insecurity. This has forced many families to reduce the quantity or quality of the food they eat, while some families sometimes resort to doing both.

 

Reducing malnutrition and addressing its devastating effects begins by strengthening societal capacities to raise awareness about the risks of malnutrition, strengthening nutrition and health care programs, and working to implement nutritional policies and rapid response strategies to address the risks of malnutrition problems on children, mothers and society in general.

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