A total of 35,138 children less than five years of age representing 23.1 per cent of children in the Upper West Region are stunted, the Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey 2011, has revealed.malnourished

The survey says 15 per cent representing 23,141 children less than five years are underweight while 14,194 representing 9.2 per cent are wasted.

Mr Prosper Dakura, a Representative of the United Nations (UN) Systems in Tamale, made this known in a solidarity message at this year?s Regional Nutrition Review and Planning meeting in Wa.

Mr Dakura who quoted: ?Save the Children 2012,? explained that expectant mothers getting the right nutrients at the right time is critical, particularly during the first 1000 days from pregnancy to the second birthday of their children.

He noted that good nutrition is a prerequisite for physical, mental and social development, and essential for successful education, growth and development.

He explained that malnutrition is not only as a result of inadequate food intake.

Mr Dakura said about 50 per cent of under nutrition cases are associated with frequent bouts of diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and worm infestation as a result of insanitary practices, unsafe water and insufficient hygiene.

Mr Dakura said interestingly, in the Region, seven out of 10 persons openly defecate, which he described as unacceptable.

He called for the need for partnership and synergy in programme implementation, coordinating of nutrition actions and overall institutional ownership of programmes and interventions to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr Dakura said effective mechanisms must be put in place for monitoring results to provide complete, up-to-date and accurate data for effective planning and budgeting for improved nutrition.

More than 8,000 children die from preventable under nutrition related causes worldwide.

Quoting Lancet publication of June, 2013 and UNICEF sources, Mr Dakura said the neglected issue has been the single largest contributor to child mortality worldwide, underlying 3.1 million child deaths each year.

GNA

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