(Xinhua) -- The UN World Food Program
(WFP) has called for more efforts to stop the high level of
child stunting in semi-arid northeastern Uganda also known as
Ryan Anderson, acting deputy WFP country
director, told Xinhua in an interview on Friday that the
stunting rates in the region of over 1 million people stands at
35.5 percent, which is above the World Health Organization
threshold of 15 percent.
"We have made a lot of progress with government in the last
"In 2006, it was nearly 50 percent and in 2016 it is at 35
"This is very good progress, but still a very long way to go
to get to acceptable levels and reach ultimate goal of zero by
2030," he said.
"We need more efforts.
"We need to look at agricultural
production, address food insecurity, provide social protection,
education and providing nutrient foods to prevent it." he said.
Stunting is a result of chronic malnutrition and regular
Sarah Zeid, a visiting global advocate of WFP’s work in
improving nutrition and wellbeing of women, children and
adolescents around the world, told Xinhua here in the
northeastern district of Moroto that the high stunting rates
were ‘deeply worrying’.
"We can do more and we can do better.
"The impact of malnutrition during the first 1,000 days, not
only has life-long health and nutrition consequences on the
individual, but also socio-economic development consequences at
the household, community and national level," said Zeid.
"What is required here is a timely multi-sectoral, holistic
and integrated approach.
"Tackling nutrition, you need to be looking at food scarcity,
looking at climate mitigation and you need to be providing the
health needs," she said.
Zeid hailed China for its support to the region, describing
it as incredible and extraordinary assistance.
China, through WFP, this year provided emergency food aid
worth 5 million U.S. dollars to Karamoja to benefit some 130,000
school going children to have two meals a day for the next ten
"This is essential, critical and extraordinary contribution
because it means the children will come to school, children will
stay in school, the teachers can focus in school because they
are also fed and are given a little bit of food because they
have families to provide for," she said.
WFP said it is working with government through health centers
to provide pregnant, nursing women and children aged 6-23 months
with nutritious meals in order to prevent stunted growth.
The agency said in 2017, it provided specialized nutritious
food to some 50,000 children under 2 years as well as pregnant
and lactating women at the government health centers in Karamoja
This year, the agency targets to reach some 97,000 moderately
acute malnourished children below five years of age.
UN Children’s Fund says
three-in-five babies not breastfed within first hour of life
UNITED NATIONS New York: (Xinhua) --
Three-in-five babies, mostly born in low-and
middle-income countries, are not breastfed within the first hour
of life, placing them at higher risk of death and disease,
according to a new United Nations report launched on Tuesday.
"When it comes to the start of breastfeeding, timing is
everything," UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Executive Director
Henrietta Fore said on the eve of World Breastfeeding Week.
"In many countries, it can even be a matter of life or
death," she added.
In the report, Capture the Moment, UNICEF and the World
Health Organization (WHO) note that while newborns who
breastfeed in the first hour of life are significantly more
likely to survive, they estimate that 78 million newborns are
Each year, millions of newborns miss out on the benefits of
early breastfeeding and the reasons, all too often, are things
we can change," she said.
"Mothers simply don’t receive enough support to breastfeed
within those crucial minutes after birth, even from medical
personnel at health facilities."
World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated annually from Aug. 1
to 7 to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies
around the world by providing infants with the nutrients they
Even a few hours delay after birth could pose
Skin-to-skin contact along with suckling at the breast
stimulate the mother’s production of breastmilk, including
colostrum, which is produced ahead of regular milk, in the first
few days after giving birth.
It is so rich in nutrients and antibodies, that it is often
referred to as the baby’s first vaccine.
According to the report, 65 percent of countries in Eastern
and Southern Africa have the highest rate of breastfeeding
within the first hour, while East Asia and the Pacific have the
lowest rate with only 32 percent benefitting from the early
While nearly nine-in-10 babies born in Burundi, Sri Lanka and
Vanuatu are breastfed within that first hour, only two-in-10
born in Azerbaijan, Chad and Montenegro were nursed.
"Breastfeeding gives children the best possible start in
life," said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general.
"We must urgently scale up support to mothers, be it from
family members, health care workers, employers and governments,
so they can give their children the start they deserve."
Analyzing data from 76 countries, the report reveals some of
the reasons why too many newborns are left waiting.
One common practice is to discard colostrum, and instead feed
the infant honey, sugar water or infant formula, which also
delays a newborn’s first critical contact with the mother.
The rise in elective C-sections also has an impact, with a
study across 51 countries noting that in this type of delivery,
initiation rates among newborns are significantly lower.
Earlier studies, cited in the report, show that newborns who
began breastfeeding between two and 23 hours after birth had a
33 percent greater risk of dying, compared to those who
breastfed within one hour. And the risk more than doubled among
newborns who started a day or more after birth.
The report urges governments and other decision-makers to
adopt strong legal measures to restrict the marketing of infant
formula and other breastmilk substitutes to help address the
The WHO and UNICEF-led Global Breastfeeding Collective also
released the 2018 Global Breastfeeding Scorecard, which tracks
progress for and urges countries to advance breastfeeding
policies and programs to help mothers breastfeed their babies in
the first hour of life.