Ermera registers 63.4% of stunting among the rest

Ermera registers 63.4% of stunting among the rest

Photo Tatoli

DILI, 20 september 2023 (TATOLI)- In a report published by the United Nations International Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Ermera municipality records a high percentage of stunting which is 63,4% among the rest municipalities in the country.

Data on malnutrition and stunting across the territory were identified through the collaboration between UNICEF and the Ministry of Health, the World Food Program (WGP), and relevant ministries.

“UNICEF and the Minister of Health validated data of stunting across all municipalities across Timor-Leste. We identified that the high number of stunting in Timor-Leste is Ermera municipality with a percentage of 63.4%,’’ Country Representative of UNICEF in Timor-Leste, Bilal Aurang Zeb Durrani told journalists in the Kofi Anan conference room, in Caicoli, Tuesday.

The Prevalence of Stunting by municipality shows Ainaro at 60.3% second highest to Ermera, While Oecusi occupied third position 57.1% followed by other municipalities Aileu 53.9%, Bobonaro 50.3%, Covalima 49%, Bucau 48.8%, Viqueque 48.2%, Manufahi 46.8%, Manatuto 46.7%, Liquica 45.8%, Lautem 42.3% and Dili 32%.

With all the data recorded from municipalities Timor-Leste records a total of 47% malnutrition and stunting at the national level.

Bilal Durrani said it is necessary to prevent stunting for children since they are still in the mother’s womb until the baby reaches two years.

To find an alternative solution to these concerns, the Government of Timor-Leste is stepping up with Development Partners to address the situation with a few important initiatives such as Bolsa da Mae jerasaun foun and fuel subsidies, especially for agriculture and fishing industries to address the situation.

Several recommendations from UNICEF needed to look at long-term solutions including:

  • Developing, approving, and implementing transformative policies: the Food Fortification Law, the Breast Milk Policy, and the Breast Milk Substitute Code, amongst others.
  • Implementing a vertical and horizontal expansion of Social Protection Programs and Consolidated National Action Plan for Food Security and Nutrition (CNAP), where Bolsa da Mae and the School Meal Program can help offset rising living costs and worsening malnutrition.
  • Combating the drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition for children under 5, adolescents, and mothers, including putting in place systems and initiatives that blunt the impact of food crises on communities across Timor-Leste.
  • Ensuring Contingency plans on alternative sources of key commodities, as well as anticipatory measures to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change that might be another hurdle on top of rising agricultural inputs are critical.
  • Promoting the production of diversified nutrient-dense foods, and farmers’ access to the market through public-private partnerships is key to supporting the diversification of economic revenues for the Government.

In the same place, the Country Representative of WFP in Timor-Leste, Cecilia Garzon said the main issue of a child affected by malnutrition or stunting due to food insecurity and lack of nutrition food.

Timor-Leste’s national food consumption for imported food covered 60% of food nutrition deficiency since Timor-Leste depends mostly on imported foods.

While 70% of Timorese rely on food and income derived from agriculture drought conditions will likely result in both reduced domestic food supply and household incomes.

“WFP observed that lack of nutrition for children affected children’s development in physical and mental health. WFP helps the government of Timor-Leste to ensure all children can access nutritious food through school feeding programs,’’ She explained

In the previous meeting between the WFP International Director of Unit Partner Strategy, Stanlake Samkange, and the President of Republic, José Ramos Horta. 

WFP said food security issues happen globally and also impact Timor-Leste, therefore it is important and necessary to look at the international and local component systems.

According to Samkange water become one of the most critical elements that contribute to nutrition, adding that water is critical for irrigation and also water has an impact on economic diversification and also to reduce malnutrition and stunting issue in Timor-Leste.

Therefore to ensure all the communities have access to clean water, WFP also discussed with other International Partners to address different elements of the food system and food sovereignty.

“We have discussed with the other international agencies from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Korea International Cooperation and Agency (KOICA), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and others to provide the most effective support in addressing the different elements of the food system and foodSovereignty,’’ Stanlake Samkange told the Journalist at Government Place, after meeting with Vice.


Journalist: José  de Sa

Editor: Nelia B.


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