Education

$3.4m Donated to Tackle Child Wasting

A $3.4 million fund has been donated by UK-headquartered Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to combat child wasting, helping to save 5,200 lives in six provinces in the next three years
Schoolchidren leaving school in Koh Kong province (Kiripost/Prak Chan Thul)
Schoolchidren leaving school in Koh Kong province (Kiripost/Prak Chan Thul)

The United Kingdom Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) has donated $3.4 million to UNICEF to tackle the issue of child wasting across six provinces in Cambodia, saving an additional 5,200 lives over three years.

In a statement on Friday, UNICEF said wasting, sometimes known as acute malnutrition, afflicts one in 10 Cambodian children under the age of five and is characterized by a low weight to height ratio.

"The shocking truth is that children suffering from wasting are up to 11 times more likely to die than well-nourished children,” said Foroogh Foyouzat, UNICEF’s Representative in Cambodia.

“Those who survive may suffer from lifelong developmental challenges,” he said, adding that the government and partners have reduced malnutrition. However, still today one in 10 children suffer from wasting, its most dangerous form.

“We must tackle this problem so that every child can enjoy the right to grow and thrive. We are very grateful to CIFF for helping us to get closer to achieving that goal."

UNICEF said the new funding will allow them to support the Ministry of Health to scale-up the prevention and treatment of wasting by improving essential primary health care services in Takeo, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, Pursat, Kampong Chhnang and Oddar Meanchey provinces.

Preliminary results of the 2021 Cambodia Demographic Health Survey show that while childhood stunting decreased from 34 percent to 22 percent between 2014 and 2021, childhood wasting has remained unchanged at 10 percent.

Wasting is usually related to the socioeconomic status of households, food insecurity, suboptimal child feeding practices, lack of access to safe water, or poor sanitation and hygiene.

Wasting has become an even greater threat as a result of the ongoing socioeconomic impacts of Covid-19 and the Ukraine crisis, which has affected global food security and increased prices in Cambodia. Currently, less than 10 percent of the estimated 60,000 children suffering from wasting in Cambodia have access to treatment.