The Programme Manager, Food and Nutrition Security, EU Delegation, The Gambia, Darrell Sexstone, has said that 2.6 million children under the age of five die every year as a result of under nutrition. Sexstone made the remark at the opening of a two day workshop on food fortification held at a hotel in Senegambia on May 23rd 2017. The meeting is organized by the European Union in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare. He added that globally, around 165 million or a quarter of the world’s children, suffer from stunting. Over 90% of these children live in Africa and Asia, he said. He noted that the effects of poor nutrition represents one of the most serious and preventable tragedies of their time. He said the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers poor nutrition as the single most important threat to the world’s health. “In many developing countries it is an underlying cause of at least one third of all child deaths and 20% of maternal mortalities every year”. He added that millions of children do survive, but those that survive grow up stunted with a low height for their age and impaired mental development. He stressed that under nutrition traps individuals and society in the various circle of poverty. “Children growing up in poor households are more likely to suffer from under nutrition which undermines their ability to learn and make them more prone to disease and illness,” he said. This, he noted hinders a child’s capacity to secure a job as an adult and to live a productive life thus perpetuating generational poverty. Under nutrition is especially severe among poor rural populations and those suffering from discrimination, he said. Sexstone Stated that nutrition is included as a major component under the recently signed Envelope B 11.5 MEUR ‘Post Crisis Response to food and nutrition insecurity’ project currently being implemented by FAO/WFP and UNICEF.

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