Somali women and children at risk of anemia 10 May 10, 2010 - 4:19:50 AM
A recent study indicates that nearly half of all women and children in Somalia have anemia and Vitamin A deficiency.
The study, conducted by the Food Security Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU-Somalia) in conjunction with the UN bodies such as UNICEF, WFP and WHO said about 50 percent of all women, 30 percent of all school aged children and 60 percent of children fewer than five were classified as anemic.
"Anemia in Somalia is caused by a range of factors including frequent exposure to diseases which are often untreated, and the consumption of predominantly cereal based diets, which are missing key vitamins and minerals," Grainne Moloney, interim Chief Technical Adviser of the FSNAU.
“Although children may seem healthy as they are not very thin, these underlying deficiencies mean these children are still malnourished,” she added.
The required nutrient rich foods, such as meat, eggs, fish, vegetables and fruits foods are often too expensive for poor households to buy and the problem is further exacerbated by inadequate health care and sanitation, disease and a lack of appropriate infant and young child feeding.
The study, which was conducted in Somalia between March and August 2009, puts the anemia level in Somalia amongst the highest in the continent.
Vitamin A deficiency is well known to cause night blindness, but more importantly, can increase the risk of mortality from childhood diseases such as measles, it aid.
Somalia has been without a central government since 1991 and half of the country’s population depends on food aid.