An NGO, Save the Children, says an estimated 11.7 million children will be affected by stunting (permanent effect of malnutrition) on the mental and physical development of a child by 2025.
The information is contained in a statement signed by Jasmine Whitbread, Chief Executive Officer of Save the Children International, and made available in Abuja.
“In Africa, two in five children are affected by stunting, the permanent effect of malnutrition, on the mental and physical development of a child.
“An estimated 11.7 million more will be affected by 2025 at current rates. That is millions of children whose physical, emotional, and intellectual development is at risk,’’ the statement said.
It stated that stunting could lead to fatal health complications that burdened national healthcare systems as it reduced productivity and stopped many children from finishing their education annually.
The statement noted that adults, who were malnourished as children, typically earned at least 20 per cent less on average than those who were not.
It added that what any parent wanted for their child was to be given the chance to reach their potential.
“But this is also a global economic disaster, addressing stunting is not only crucial for each of these children but makes firm economic sense,’’ the statement stated.
It noted that economically, Nigeria was one of the world’s fastest growing economies with an economy expected to grow by seven per cent in the next year.
“Globally, an estimated two to three per cent of national income in a country is lost every year due to malnutrition.
Stunting is not only affects health and education but also undermines economic growth, it quoted.
The statement explained that if leaders should scale up nutritional interventions by 10 billion Dollars to 12 billion Dollars a year, it would save two million lives globally. It stated that “the sustained development of Africa’s economies is dependent on the potential of Africa’s citizens.