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National seminar on nutrition aims to tackle chronic malnutrition in Mozambique

© UNICEF/MOZA01439/Giacomo Pirozzi
A child is being weighed by a health mobile unit in the village of Namurava, Maganja da Costa district, central province of Zambezia.

Maputo, 1 March 2010 – A national seminar on nutrition will be held in Maputo on 3 and 4 March to review the situation of chronic malnutrition in the country and develop a sectoral action plan aiming to accelerate the response to the prevention of chronic malnutrition.

Led by the Ministry of Health, the seminar will be chaired by the Prime Minister of Mozambique and will bring together various government institutions at central and provincial levels, development partners, United Nations, civil society and private sector organisations.

In Mozambique, the percentage of children under five with chronic malnutrition declined from 48 per cent in 2003 to 44 per cent 2008, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) conducted by the National Institute of Statistics in 2008. While progress has been made, the levels of child malnutrition – particularly chronic malnutrition – remain high according to the World Health Organisation classification.

Nutritional status of children under five, 2003 and 2008

The reduction in the rates of chronic malnutrition between 2003 and 2008 is the result of a sharper reduction in rural areas and a slower decrease in urban areas. The MICS data also show that the nutritional status of children varies substantially in relation to the level of education of their mothers. Almost one in two children under five whose mothers did not go to school are affected by chronic malnutrition, compared with one in four children whose mother had at least secondary education.

Chronic malnutrition is a nutritional deficiency characterised by inadequate dietary intake both in quantity and quality over a long period of time, which may compromise the physical, mental and cognitive development of a child.

Children with chronic malnutrition have a greater risk of chronic diseases in adulthood. As a result, school performance and productivity in adulthood are adversely affected, with an economic impact on the potential of the national work force.
The main factors influencing chronic malnutrition include the health and nutritional status of the mother before and during pregnancy, the quality of child nutrition, the care the child receives in the first two years of life, the level of education of the mother and access to adequate sanitation.





Related publication

Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2008: Summary


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