WHO: 47.1% of children under five in TL are malnourished

WHO: 47.1% of children under five in TL are malnourished

The children's are playing on the boat at the Bidau’s SantAna beach on Sunday (29/03) Image TATOLI/António Gonçalves

DILI, 29 june 2021 (TATOLI)-Around 47.1% of children under five in Timor-Leste (TL) experience malnutrition problems caused by unhealthy food, revealed the representative of  World Health Organization (WHO) in Timor-Leste, Arvind Mathur.

Every year on a global level millions of people fall ill and thousands die from food-borne illness, all affected by insecure foods.

Nearly one in 10 people worldwide fall ill after eating contaminated food and leading to more than 420.000 deaths every year.

“This global escalation is a challenge for Timor-Leste, as one of the countries in the Asia Pacific region with a high malnutrition rate of around 47.1% refers to children under five years old,” said the WHO Representative, Arvind Mathur,  in his speech at the event of World Food Safety  Day through virtual, this tuesday

Children are affected disproportionately, the total of 125,000 deaths annually for people under 5 years of age. Most of these cases are caused by diarrhea diseases.

Other serious consequences of food-borne illness include kidney and liver failure, brain and nerve disorders, reactive arthritis, cancer, and death. Food safety, nutrition and food safety are closely intertwined.

Unsafe food creates a vicious cycle of disease and malnutrition, especially affecting infants, young children, the elderly, and the sick. Increased international trade and longer and more complex food chains increase the risk of food contamination and the transport of infected food products across national and international borders.

“This applies to Timor-Leste as a country where 76.11% depends on imports of goods,” he explained. Timor-Leste has made great efforts in securing their food products to be safe from fraud, malpractice and following international standards.

WHO has trained food inspectors, promoted the 5 keys to food safety, and is a member of the Codex Alimentarius and the International Organization for Animal Health.

“Yes, this is not enough, and there is definitely room for improvement. Looking at the global figures for food-borne illness, there is a call for us to look deeper into how Timor-Leste can contribute to reducing the burden by recognizing food security is not a one-man job,” said Arvind.

He invites everyone to come together to drive innovation to develop better interventions and solutions to reduce and ensure that food remains safe at every stage of the food chain, the production to harvest and processing,  storage and distribution.

The World Health Organization, WHO also commemorates World Food Safety Day on June 7 every year. This commemoration began in 2019 and was initiated by the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2018.

Celebrating World Food Safety Day in its third year, the theme raised is ‘Safe food now for a healthy tomorrow’ or which means ‘Safe Food for a Healthier Tomorrow’.

Due to the pandemic situation the celebration of World Food Security Day was postponed and can be realized  this day, on 29, jully 2021 and the celebration on virtual.

Journalist: José Belarmino de Sá

Editor: Rafy Belo


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