Ethiopian Malnutrition Birth Risks

Ethiopian Malnutrition Birth Risks

As per the national demographic and health survey of 2000, it appears that 51 percent children under 5 years of age in Ethiopia are chronically malnourished.

The severe form of malnutrition like Kwashiorkor and Marasmus, that are visible in rehabilitation centers, account for only 20 percent of malnutrition related deaths among children in Ethiopia. This has shifted the attention away from mild and moderate forms of malnutrition which has affected a larger part of the population. The number of children dying in Ethiopia due to protein-energy malnutrition is as high as 470 per day.

Breastfeeding is known to protect children against infections, illnesses and death. International experts had recommended that the infants be breastfed for at least 6 months but it has not been possible due to lack of availability. As breastfeeding contributes to increase intervals between births, that would have helped to improve the health of mothers and infants. 24 percent infant deaths were found to be due to poor breastfeeding practices.

Vitamin A deficiency has become a major cause of infant child mortality in Ethiopia. 27 percent children below 5 years are age suffer from sub-clinical vitamin A deficiency. This lowers the resistance to common infections and causes child mortality.

As iodine is necessary for normal development of the brain and pregnant women in iodine deficient regions are likely to give birth to mentally retarded children. It has been observed from studies that babies born to iodine deficient mothers on an average 3 percent suffer severe mental and physical damage, 10 percent moderate mental retardation and 87 percent some form of mild intellectual disability. The percentage of people affected by goiter, a sign of iodine deficiency is 22 percent of the population. So many newborns will suffer from mental disability.   

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Ethiopian Malnutrition Birth Risks