Papua New Guinea has one of the highest malnutrition rates in the Pacific region, according to a health official.
Eileen Dogimab of the Health department’s nutrition unit, told a malnutrition advocacy workshop in Port Moresby that up to 600,000 children were stunted in PNG, including 320,000 girls.
“Like any other health issue, people need to know about what malnutrition is.”
The workshop was organised by the department and Unicef.
Dogimab said people should understand what malnutrition was because children were dying every day of non-communicable diseases.
She said it was sad to know that PNG had one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the Pacific when it had a “high food supply”.
She said children must be screened and put on treatment in the first 1000 days of their lives if they were to be saved.
Dogimab said children under five were 20 times more prone to diarrhea, pneumonia and respiratory infection which could lead to death.
“Malnutrition causes irreversible brain injuries affecting children in their cognitive development as well as the physical shape of their body. Their brain cells are stunted just like what is happening to their body,” she said.
“The dream we have in PNG is to see our children happy, well nourished, safe and healthy. But while we are looking at these, we are concerned that we have a high infant mortality rate.”
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