WaterAid – Caught Short: how a lack of access to clean water and decent toilets plays a major role in child stunting

Caught Short: how a lack of access to clean water and decent toilets plays a major role in child stunting, 2016. WaterAid.

WaterAid’s new report reveals the extent of the global stunting crisis and the impact a lack of clean water and decent toilets is having on the futures of millions of children suffering from malnutrition.

caught_short_india_Manjula_Gouramma

Sisters Manjula, 9, and Gouramma, 13, stand in front of a blackboard at their school in Karnataka State, India, showing how their height compares to the average for their age. Gouramma also suffers from hypothyroidism, which doctors say may in part explain her height.

50% of malnutrition cases are linked to chronic diarrhoea caused by lack of clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene, including handwashing with soap.

For a child, experiencing five or more cases of diarrhoea before the age of two can lead to stunting. Beyond this age, the effects are largely irreversible.

“Stunting not only makes children shorter for their age, but affects their emotional, social and cognitive development, meaning their lives and life chances are forever changed,” says Barbara Frost, WaterAid’s Chief Executive.

The Caught Short report reveals that:

  • India has the highest number of children suffering from stunting in the world – 48 million, or two in every five.
  • Nigeria and Pakistan rank second and third with 10.3 and 9.8 million children suffering from stunting respectively.
  • Timor-Leste has the highest percentage of children who are stunted, at 58%.

 

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