sexta-feira, 16 de outubro de 2015

Achieving zero hunger, and reducing malnutrition, is essential to reducing poverty in Timor Leste

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Copyright:Ted McDonnell
.WFP Media Advisory - Thursday 15th October 

Achieving zero hunger, and reducing malnutrition, is essential to reducing poverty in Timor Leste, said the World Food Programme in a statement to mark World Food Day. 

“One of the most effective ways to accelerate a country’s development is to invest in the health of a country’s children, especially programmes which reduce malnutrition. A child suffering from malnutrition should be treated and provided with nutritious food. If they are not treated in the first 5 years of life, it can impact their physical and intellectual development; they are less able to contribute to their communities, and to their country’s development,” Stephen Kearney, Country Representative for the World Food Programme said on the sidelines of the World Food Day celebrations in Maubisse.

Timor Leste has high rates of malnutrition, with just over 50% suffering from stunting, and 11 % suffering from wasting. 

But WFP,  with funding from the European Union, has been supporting the Ministry of Health to provide treatment for 2,260 malnourished children, in three districts with some of the highest rates of malnutrition for children; Oecusse, Covalima and Bobonaro.
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WFP said it was important for Timor Leste to invest in programmes which combat malnutrition, particularly for children in the first 1000 days of life, but also for pregnant and breast-feeding women. 

“The first 1000 days of life, from when a baby starts growing in the womb, until it is 2 years of age, are a critical window within which to tackle malnutrition.  And so that’s why it is important to ensure good nutrition for women, especially pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding. We know that when mothers are malnourished, then their babies will have a higher risk of being malnourished,” Kearney said. 

Starting in October, WFP will begin providing nutritious, fortified locally produced food for pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers in Oecusse, Covalima and Bobonaro The programme will also begin offering the locally produced food in three new districts; Ainaro, Ermera and Dili, with additional funding from Korea. 

“WFP will work with the Timorese government to invest in nutrition programming, and this budget investment will provide benefits for future generations of Timorese,” added Kearney. 

International research shows that a small investment, or just 0.3 global Gross Domestic Product each year, would achieve zero hunger.  But the shared benefits are worth far more­estimated at 5 percent global GDP in improved economic activity. 

Current levels of malnutrition in children under five, costs Timor Leste $41 million annually in lost educational and production opportunities, according to calculations from the Ministry of Health.  
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