Tag Archives: stunting

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%.

 

Handwashing, sanitation and family planning practices are the strongest underlying determinants of child stunting in rural India

Handwashing, sanitation and family planning practices are the strongest underlying determinants of child stunting in rural indigenous communities of Jharkhand and Odisha, Eastern India: a cross-sectional study. Maternal & Child Nutrition, June 2016.

Authors: Jennifer Saxton, Shibanand Rath, et. al.

The World Health Organisation has called for global action to reduce child stunting by 40% by 2025. One third of the world’s stunted children live in India, and children belonging to rural indigenous communities are the worst affected. We sought to identify the strongest determinants of stunting among indigenous children in rural Jharkhand and Odisha, India, to highlight key areas for intervention.

We analysed data from 1227 children aged 6–23.99 months and their mothers, collected in 2010 from 18 clusters of villages with a high proportion of people from indigenous groups in three districts. We measured height and weight of mothers and children, and captured data on various basic, underlying and immediate determinants of undernutrition. We used Generalised Estimating Equations to identify individual determinants associated with children’s height-for-age z-score (HAZ; p < 0.10); we included these in a multivariable model to identify the strongest HAZ determinants using backwards stepwise methods.

In the adjusted model, the strongest protective factors for linear growth included cooking outdoors rather than indoors (HAZ +0.66), birth spacing ≥24 months (HAZ +0.40), and handwashing with a cleansing agent (HAZ +0.32). The strongest risk factors were later birth order (HAZ −0.38) and repeated diarrhoeal infection (HAZ −0.23).

Our results suggest multiple risk factors for linear growth faltering in indigenous communities in Jharkhand and Odisha. Interventions that could improve children’s growth include reducing exposure to indoor air pollution, increasing access to family planning, reducing diarrhoeal infections, improving handwashing practices, increasing access to income and strengthening health and sanitation infrastructure.

Scientists put $177 billion price tag on cost of poor child growth

Scientists put $177 billion price tag on cost of poor child growth | Source: Yahoo News, June 29 2016 |

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Children born in developing countries this year will lose more than $177 billion in potential life-time earnings because of stunting and other delays in physical development, scientists said on Wednesday.

Children who have poor growth in their first years of life tend to perform worse at school which usually leads to poorer earning power later on.

The Harvard scientists calculated that every dollar invested in eliminating poor early growth would yield a $3 return.

“$177 billion is a big pay cheque that the world is missing out on – about half a percentage point of GDP of these countries,” said Peter Singer, head of Grand Challenges Canada, which funded the research through its Saving Brains program.

“We have to stop wasting the world’s most precious economic and social asset and ensure children thrive.”

Poor nutrition, premature birth, low breastfeeding rates and early exposure to infection are among several causes of stunting which affects three in 10 children in the developing world.

Continue reading

Angela Kearney on Sanitation and Stunting

In a recent interview in the Pakistan Television programme ‘Diplomatic Enclave’, conducted by Omar Khalid Butt, UNICEF Representative in Pakistan Ms. Angela Kearney sheds light on the priorities of UNICEF and the targets and achievements of the UN Children’s Fund in Pakistan.

In this clip she speaks about access to sanitation and stunting in Pakistan, and the relation between the two problems. She also sheds light on the progress Pakistan has made in the recent years in achieving the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on sanitation.

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition

Poor Sanitation in India May Afflict Well-Fed Children With Malnutrition | Source: by Gardiner Harris, New York Times, July 13, 2014.

Excerpts: A long economic boom in India has done little to reduce the vast number of children who are malnourished and stunted, leaving them with mental and physical deficits that will haunt them their entire lives. Now, an emerging body of scientific studies suggest that many of the 162 million children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished are suffering less a lack of food than poor sanitation. sanitation-nytimes

Two years ago, Unicef, the World Health Organization and the World Bank released a major report on child malnutrition that focused entirely on a lack of food. Sanitation was not mentioned. Now, Unicef officials and those from other major charitable organizations said in interviews that they believe that poor sanitation may cause more than half of the world’s stunting problem.

“Our realization about the connection between stunting and sanitation is just emerging,” said Sue Coates, chief of water, sanitation and hygiene at Unicef India. “At this point, it is still just an hypothesis, but it is an incredibly exciting and important one because of its potential impact.”

This research has quietly swept through many of the world’s nutrition and donor organizations in part because it resolves a great mystery: Why are Indian children so much more malnourished than their poorer counterparts in sub-Saharan Africa?

Sanitation and nutrition

In the scramble for attention in post-2015 development agenda discussions, WaterAid and the SHARE programme are highlighting the role of WASH in combating malnutrition. “A successful global effort to tackle under-nutrition must include WASH” is the headline in their new briefing note.

Mentioned in the note, and of special interest, is the forthcoming Cochrane review on “Interventions to improve water quality and supply, sanitation and hygiene practices, and their effects on the nutritional status of children” (DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009382).

In the wake of the WaterAid/SHARE briefing note, a new World Bank report on sanitation and stunting [1] is “getting a lot of attention from our nutrition colleagues”, says Eddy Perez of the Water and Sanitation Program (WSP) in an email.

Continue reading