Overview of Child Malnutrition at Katima Mulilo Hospital (Zambezi Region/Namibia)

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.05.04.Art019

Authors : Amisi Bitoma


Malnutrition among children is very common in developing countries. Malnutrition is a physical state in which physical function of an individual is impaired to the point at which he or she can no longer maintain adequate bodily performance processes (growth, pregnancy, lactation, physical work, and resisting or recovering from diseases.) (1).

Malnutrition presents a double burden in the world currently.

1.  Severe acute wasting Malnutrition also called thinness (2) which is fast or rapid wasting of body weight [weight for height ratio below < -3 standard deviation (SD)] or bilateral nutritional edema.

2.  Severe overweight also called Obesity (3) which is defined as excess body fat deposited in the body contributing to comorbidity. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the measurement of obesity [when BMI is > 30 or when waist circumference is > 88cm (Female) and > 102cm (Male), there is obesity].

Severe acute wasting Malnutrition and obesity are all conditions that have an impact on a Public Health Point of view.

Indeed, according to the data published by UNICEF, WHO and World Bank Group in 2015 (4):

·     Stunting also called shortness (meaning chronic malnutrition based on height per age ratio) are dropping but 159 million children around the world are still affected.

·     There are 41 million overweight children in the world, about 10 million more than there were 2 decades ago.

·     Wasting still threatens the lives of 50 million children across the globe.

·     The majority of children under 5 suffering from wasting live in Asia. In 2015 , 34,3 million wasted children under 5 were from Asia which represent 68% of the globally number of wasted children under 5(Southern Asia being the house to more than half of all wasted children under 5 globally) (4). Africa is the second worst continent with the second higher number of wasted children under 5 which is around 13, 9 million (28% of the global number) (4).

57% of world stunted children are from Asia while 37% of world stunted are from Africa mostly in Eastern Africa, Middle Africa and Western Africa. (4).

Low income and lower middle income countries are the majority of countries that experience more of wasting and stunting among children under 5(4).


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[5].     Namibia Standard Treatment Guidelines, Ministry of health and Social Services of Namibia, page 579, 2011.

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