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Question of the week

 

How does malnutrition affect Albania’s children?

© UNICEF Albania/04.144/G. Pirozzi
Children eat lunch at a centre in Tirana that is working to help them stay in or return to school.

Malnutrition results from not having the right nutrients for an extended period of time. Children under five years of age are most at risk because they are growing rapidly. Malnourished children also have a harder time resisting infections, so they are more likely to die from common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections. Those who survive malnutrition may face long-term effects, including being stunted or mentally retarded.

Albania’s Living Standards Measurement Survey of 2002 found that one third of children are stunted (meaning too short for their age). It also found that 14 per cent of Albanian children under age five are underweight, compared to 6 per cent in neighbouring Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and 4 per cent in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Poverty is the main cause of childhood malnutrition in Albania as it reduces young children’s access to food. It also results in low levels of education, inadequate child and maternal care, and poor access to health services. Rural areas in the northeast of the country are hardest hit.

  • Improve the health of women and children through empowerment of communities to take charge of their own health
  • Protect children from infections by maintaining high level of immunization
  • Improve the nutritional status of children through prevention of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, support of breastfeeding and timely introduction of complementary feeding.
  • Achieve universal salt iodization by the end of 2008.

 

 
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