Child Malnutrition in Africa

By: Lydia Dumont


Malnutrition is a condition that is resulted from a diet lacking certain nutrients or having them in the wrong proportions. Most cases of this devastating illness occur in the Sahel region of Africa alone. In 2012, 1.5 million children were affected by malnutrition and even though rates fell last year, the number is expected to rise again this year. 1/3 of the 6.9 million deaths of children under five happened in the Sahel region in 2011.

Big image

Causes/ Contributing Factors

The Sahel is a very poor part of Africa, this is one of the many reasons that malnutrition is so prominent here. Other reasons include: malaria, poor water conditions, inadequate care of children, locust plagues, droughts, and overgrazing. Also, high birthrates have affected them because, although many don't survive, more children are living on than before, which is making the cost of food rise and hurting the poorest of families.


Malnutrition weakens the body's defenses, therefore making a person here more susceptible to malaria, acute respiratory infection, and diarrhea. Each of these things kill outrageous amounts of children each year. There are some extreme side effects of malnutrition such as anemia and excessive blood loss when injured. Their hair can turn reddish at the scalp and their eyes become dull and lose all shine like porcelain. Malnutrition can also make a person appear bloated ( this happens in children especially) as in the picture to the left.


If you haven't yet realized, you would have to eliminate all of the terrible illnesses to eliminate one. They all come hand in hand. A few years ago, the UNICEF organization handed out mineral tablets to all the children and mosquito nets during malaria season. They also administered antimalarial vaccines even if the people didn't have the disease. They called this movement the "Scale Up". They later found they had inadequate funds to continue these helpful procedures and they sadly had to discontinue their mission. Hopefully, sometime there will be enough money to keep up with this because it made many changes, one of them being that, "hospitalizations for all illnesses, including malnutrition, dropped by 63 percent". (Anna Jeffreys)


Malnutrition kills over 1 million children in Sahel a year. This could be prevented if it weren't for the one thing that hinders the most effective and moving of operations in this world, money. Malnutrition can never be completely stopped but we can most definitely make an impact by lessening its numbers. It's a deadly condition that is devastating to many but with the help of sponsors and other people who care we can make a difference.

Works Cited

Jeffreys, Anna. “Time to Prevent child Malnutrition in Sahel’. Irinnews. October 14, 2013. March 6, 2014.

Nardo, Don. Malnutrition. Farmington Hills, MI. Thomson Gale. 2007.

UNICEF: Over one Million African Children Face Malnutrition Risk. Redorbit. January28, 2012. March 6, 2014