Childhood undernutrition and its disastrous effects


Photo credit: UN NEWS CENTRE

Children eating at the IDP site in Mellia, Chad. Photo: OCHA/Ivo Brandau

Undernutrition taking huge toll on Chad’s economy, new UN-supported study finds

Chad’s economy is losing 575.8 billion CFA francs ($1.2 billion) per year, or 9.5 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP), to the effects of childhood undernutrition and resultant increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity by the workforce, a new United Nations-backed study has revealed.

The Cost of Hunger in Africa: the Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition on Chad’s Long-Term Development, (CoCHA) found that more than half of the country’s adults (56.4 per cent) have suffered as a result of childhood stunting. This means that more than 3.4 million people of working age are unable to reach their full potential due to childhood undernutrition. The study equates this lower physical capacity to 63.7 billion CFA worth of loss in economic productivity, as well as 168.6 billion CFA in additional health costs.

“Africa, and Chad in particular, has the potential to reap a demographic dividend from a young, educated and skilled workforce,” said Dr. Margaret Agama-Anyetei, Head of the African Union’s Division for Health, Nutrition and Population in a joint news release.

“But,” she warned, “this potential can only be harnessed if the gains of early investments in the health and nutrition of its people, particularly women and children, are maintained and result in the desired economic growth.”

Read the full article: UN NEWS CENTRE



How big would be the smile of these kids if their parents were offered the simple means to set up a small kitchen garden with juicy veggies and herbs, yes, even in Chad ?  And yet, it’s possible.

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.