UNICEF recently warned that the worldwide risk for child malnutrition, which was already increasing before Russia invaded Ukraine, had significantly risen. In its recent press release, UNICEF noted that 10% of children in Cambodia were actively impacted by malnutrition.
The organization stated that severe wasting, which could be observed when a child was too thin for their height, is the most life threatening and visible form of malnutrition. In its Child Alert press release, the United Nations Children’s Fund estimated that globally, at least 13.5 million children aged five and below suffered from severe wasting.
The press release added that funds to combat severe wasting in Cambodia weren’t sufficient enough to cover the increasing needs, mentioning estimates from the National Roadmap for Child Wasting, which show that roughly $25 million was required to sufficiently fight the malnutrition crisis in the next 3 years.
Foroogh Foyouzat, Cambodia’s UNICEF representative, stated that nutrition had a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn, thrive and survive, because it played a key role in early childhood development. Foyouzat added that UNICEF was supporting the Cambodian government in strengthening community interventions and outreach programs so that caregivers could be made aware of nutrition and health services in their areas and use those resources to prevent malnutrition in children; the group is also working to identify cases of severe wasting in children earlier.
UNICEF also requested that civil society organizations, donors and governments across the globe prioritize budget allocations for ready-to-use therapeutic food and treatment for child wasting in order to ensure that there were funds to meet the needs of vulnerable children in the long-term.
Cambodia’s Technical Sub-Group Head of water, sanitation and nutrition, Chea Samnang, stated that malnutrition would cost the country roughly $265 million annually, which is equivalent to about 1.7% of Cambodia’s GDP. Samnang then revealed that Cambodia was struggling to fight stunting, with more than 30% of children in the country aged below five years of age suffering from lack of nutrition. Additionally, 24% of the child population in the kingdom is underweight while 10% faces wasting.
Last year at the UN Food Summit, the Chairman of the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development in Cambodia, Yim Chhay Ly, stated that the government had set a number of priorities to achieve its 2030 goal to develop a strong food system which provided nutrition and food security for the country’s entire population while taking into consideration environmental, social and economic sustainability.
Many for-profit companies such as AREV Life Sciences Global Corp. (CSE: AREV) (OTC: AREVF) are focused on finding better ways to treat the different conditions that arise when malnutrition becomes severe. There is hope that when worst comes to worst and malnutrition compromises the health of people in different parts of the world, treatments will be available to address those complications.
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