By Ragan M. Conteh
The Acting Director Demographic, Health and Social Statistic Division, Statistic Sierra Leone (SSL), Sonnia-Magba Bu-BuakiJabbi, has disclosed that in Sierra Leone, stunting is moderately high at 26 percent, saying that stunting is as a result of chronic nutrition deprivation during the first 1,000 days of life affecting a child’s optimal growth and development.
Sonnia-Magba Bu-BuakiJabbi made the disclosure on Wednesday 4th July 2019 when making his Power Point presentation on the Popularization of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) at the Mary Kingsley Auditorium, FBC campus in Freetown.
The program was organized by the National Council for Civic Education and Development (NaCCED) in collaboration with Statistics Sierra Leone.
Sonnia-Magba Bu-BuakiJabbi revealed that stunting refer to a child who is too short for his or her age, adding that stunting is the failure to grow both physically and cognitively, and is the result of chronic or recurrent malnutrition.
According to Sonnia-Magba Bu-BuakiJabbi, it is irreversible and that the long term consequence of stunting affects a child’s school performance, an individual’s earning potential, and a nation’s economic productivity.
He said the rate of stunting in the country starts to increase once a child begins complementary feeding at 6-8 months, and it is highest in the southern region, rural areas and low income households.
The prevalence of wasting in the country, according to him, is generally low as 5 percent but children aged 18-23 months are highly vulnerable with a wasting prevalence of 8 percent.
Children suffering from acute malnutrition are more susceptible to sickness and have increased risk of death.
Sonnia-MagbaJabbi informed that stunting and wasting in the country affects young children during the period of complementary feeding.
It is therefore important to strengthen the programs that will improve the quantity, quality, frequency and diversity of complementary food given to young children.
He concluded that although the prevalence of wasting in the country is low, it is important to ensure that integration continues to provide accessible and uninterrupted quality treatment service to several malnourished in other to maintain the current levels, and prevent the reversal of the situation in the future.
By Ragan M. Conteh