Years of conflict and instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have taken quite a toll on the national population, particularly on nutrition. Experts believe the basic structural causes of malnutrition have been aggravated by high food prices and the global financial crisis which has shaken the mining industry in the west and southeast of the country. A recent IRIN article reports that half a million children and more than a million women in the DRC are in urgent need of nutritional support.
Victor Makwenge, the DRC’s Minister of Health, said that “at least 700 children under-five die each day in the five provinces where only 20 percent of children have a varied diet.” What’s more, a 2009 study by the national nutrition program in DRC provinces, which represent about half the national population, found global acute malnutrition rates above the 15 percent emergency threshold in children under five.
It’s no secret that women and children bear the brunt of malnutrition in the developing world and I’ve blogged before about the relationship between malnutrition and poor maternal health.
Fortunately, the DRC Ministry of Health officials are calling for more resources for prevention and treatment and for improvements in agricultural production. Learn more.