ECONOMISTS believe that food shortages and lockdowns have led to an acute rise in malnutrition cases among children in Zimbabwe. Data reveals that one in three children in the country are malnourished amid a deepening health crisis.
Steve Hanke, an applied economist at the John Hopkins University, shared an article on one in three children in Zimbabwe suffering from malnourishment due to food shortages and economic insecurity of lockdowns. In his views, what is making the scenario worse is the unstoppable Covid-19 disease and inflation, which is raging at 379.23% per year.
According to a Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVac) report the proportion of children receiving the minimum acceptable diet necessary for growth and development fell to 2.1% in 2020 from 6.9% in 2019.
Matabeleland, a region located in the south-west of the country, reported the highest rates of global acute malnutrition, with approximately 74,267 children aged five years and below going hungry and with an estimated 38,425 suffering from acute malnutrition.
Breastfeeding mothers are unable to feed themselves or their children due to prevailing drought conditions and coronavirus lockdowns, the article noted. Most of them are surviving on one meal per day, supplemented by a sorghum drink called maheu.
ZimVac has expressed concerns over infant and child malnutrition, with only 19% of the women in their childbearing age having met the minimum nutritional limit in 2020, compared to 43% in 2019. Humanitarian agencies suggest that these factors have to led to high maternal and child mortality rates in the country.