DR Congo has highest malnutrition rate in region: UNICEF

Report
from Agence France-Presse
Published on 30 Oct 2012

10/30/2012 12:45 GMT

BRAZZAVILLE, Oct 30, 2012 (AFP) - The Democratic Republic of Congo has the highest rate of malnutrition in central and west Africa, affecting 43 percent of children under five, UNICEF said Tuesday.

In central Africa, "some countries have a rate of chronic malnutrition which is still alarming," Marianne Flach, the representative of the UN children's agency in Congo, said at the opening of a regional workshop on reducing malnutrition.

At least 75 experts from different countries in central Africa came to take part in the workshop, which will continue until Thursday in a northern suburb of Brazzaville.

The DR Congo, affected by successive wars, is followed by the Central African Republic (40.7 percent) and Cameroon (32.5 percent), Flach said, adding that the Congo Republic had 175,000 young children suffering from chronic malnutrition, or a rate of 24.4 percent.

"Chronic malnutrition is a plague that affects several countries in the world and in Africa. It is the underlying cause of 35 percent of deaths in the world and can appear in different forms," Flach added, calling for a "coordinated multi-sector response" to eradicate the problem.

According to UNICEF, chronic malnutrition shows itself in children by a delayed growth rate, which has "a very negative impact on the health of the child, because he runs a higher risk of being infected by chronic non-infectious diseases."

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