x

Health

Malnutrition Rises in Pregnant Women in 12 at-risk Countries

NAIROBI, Kenya — Acute malnutrition among pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers has increased by 25% in the past two years in 12 countries hard hit by rising food prices fueled by the fighting in Ukraine, according to a new United Nations report.

Surveys in 10 countries in Africa and two in the Middle East that are worst affected by the food crisis were used in a UNICEF report, released Tuesday, a day before International Women’s Day.

Poor nutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding women can lead to weak immunity and complications during pregnancy and birth. Some countries in sub-Saharan Africa have in previous studies recorded high infant mortality rates due to various complications.

Globally, 51 million children under two years old are too short for their age due to malnutrition, a condition called stunting, and half of these become stunted during pregnancy or within their first six months of life, the report states.

“Without urgent action from the international community, the consequences could last for generations to come,” UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said.

The affected girls and women have increased from 5.5 million in 2020 to 6.9 million in 2022 in Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan, according to the report.

UNICEF recommends increased nutrition assistance and supplying fortifications to highly consumed basic foods such as flour, cooking oil and salt to reduce micronutrient deficiencies.

Ensuring that pregnant and breastfeeding mothers have access to nutrition services and supplements has also been recommended in the report.

Some of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa have high rates of teenage pregnancies and low attendance at prenatal clinics.

Faith Kanini, 28, who lives in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, told The Associated Press she cannot afford to attend the prenatal clinics although it is recommended.

“I pay cash for the few clinics I have attended. It is expensive for me and I cannot pay the NHIF (state health) insurance monthly premiums because I am unemployed and I rely on friends and family,” the first-time mother-to-be said in a phone interview.

Women in poor households are twice as likely to be underweight as those from the wealthiest households, according to the UNICEF report.

“South Asia and sub-Saharan African remain the epicenter of the nutrition crisis among adolescent girls and women, home to two in three adolescent girls and women suffering from underweight globally, and three in five adolescent girls and women with anemia,” the report adds.

 

RELATED

ATHENS, Greece  — The world is not doing enough to protect coral reefs, the United Nations’ special envoy for the ocean said Tuesday in defense of the marine ecosystems that protect biodiversity, sustain underwater life and produce some of the oxygen we breathe.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Indians Vote in the First Phase of the World’s Largest Election as Modi Seeks a Third Term

NEW DELHI (AP) — Millions of Indians began voting Friday in a six-week election that's a referendum on Narendra Modi, the populist prime minister who has championed an assertive brand of Hindu nationalist politics and is seeking a rare third term as the country's leader.

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Casper Ruud defeated Jordan Thompson in straight sets to earn his season-leading 26th win and secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the Barcelona Open on Thursday.

ATHENS - "Turkiye must respect the European acquis, which fully includes the participation at all levels of the Republic of Cyprus," Foreign Minister George Gerapetritis stressed on Friday in an interview with "Kanali Ena", commenting on the conclusions of the European Council, which link the progress of EuroTurkish relations with developments in the Cyprus issue.

ATHENS - Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, in an announcement on Friday, expressed "deep concern and its unequivocal condemnation of the new escalation of tension in the Middle East with Israel's show of force against Iran.

VENICE, Italy (AP) — A pair of nude feet — dirty, wounded and vulnerable — are painted on the façade of the Venice women’s prison chapel.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.