Reports Highlight Economic Impact Of Child Malnutrition In Uganda, Egypt

“Uganda loses about $899 million a year due to effects of malnutrition such as lost productivity, according to a report,” titled “The Cost of Hunger in Africa,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports (Ruitenberg, 6/18). “The study was conducted by the Government of Uganda with the support of the African Union Commission including New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa and the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP),” according to a WFP press release. The study “underlines that undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic one as well,” the press release states (6/18). According to the report, “poor early years feeding — whether through not enough food or, more often, a monotonous, vitamin-poor diet — has reduced national income by 5.6 percent,” BBC News writes. “Of course, there are many other factors that contribute to the well-being of children — from the quality of parenting to the physical environment,” but the study “looks only at the effects of nutrition from cradle to grave,” the news service notes (Doyle, 6/21).

Another study, “undertaken in Egypt by the Cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) in collaboration with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA),” found “Egypt lost an estimated 20.3 billion Egyptian pounds (US$3.7 billion) or 1.9 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2009 as a result of child undernutrition,” a WFP press release reports (6/20). “Higher health care costs, additional burdens on education and lower productivity stemming from stunting or chronic malnutrition were particular drivers for the economic losses,” according to the WFP, Bloomberg Businessweek notes in another article. The study was part of the same report, which covered 12 countries in Africa, according to the news agency (Ruitenberg, 6/20).

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