Malnutrition

Child stunting from malnutrition could increase in Pacific in wake of Covid, experts warn

The loss of work and skyrocketing food prices, brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, could lead to an increase in child stunting in the Pacific, experts have warned.

A new report from World Vision, released today, found that 60% of people in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste having lost their job or main source of income due to the pandemic and that this had had a serious impact on the health of children.

High malnutrition level in Middle Ramu

And villages hardly have any improved agricultural practices to produce highly nutritious and quality garden foods to meet nutritional requirements, says Abner Yalu, an official from the World Bank funded Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project.

Yalu revealed the observation after a recent field trip to the area.

"I walked from Duzin Airstrip to Simbai Station (about  8 hours walk) and was shocked to see a  high level of malnutrition among the children," Yalu said.

There is "virtually no agriculture based business apart from deteriorating coffee", he said.