The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases – Thursday, 19.2.2009

Posted on 19 February 2009. Filed under: Week 600 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Mirror, Vol. 13, No. 600

“Phnom Penh: A new report from the National Institute of Statistics found that the number of children with severe malnutrition increased, and the number of different diseases that affect children under the age of five increased also.

“The findings of a survey on the national level, analyzing the influence of high food prices, indicate that the health of children did not improve, because the number of children with serious malnutrition rose from 8.4% in 2005 to 8.9% in 2008, which is an important indication based on their weight and height proportions. This survey found also that the spread of fever among children under the age of four rose to 58.9% in 2008, compared to 39.6% in 2005.

“However, this survey discovered also some positive results regarding the situation of alimentation of women and of children under the age of two.

“The director of the National Mother and Child Health Center, Professor Dr. Kum Kanal, referred questions regarding this problem to the person who released this report.

“The deputy director of the Department of Planning and Health Information, Ms. Sok Kanha, said Tuesday evening by telephone that our country is poor, and the economic standard of living dropped, making many workers unemployed, and some farmers do not own enough rice fields, causing shortages. Therefore, they cannot provide enough food to their children.

“When asked whether the equity program of a foundation of the government is failing or not, while the health situation of the people declines, Ms. Sok Kanha claimed, ‘The equity program of the foundation of the government does not fail, because this program offers charged services to patients, but it is not to buy food for the poor.’

“She added that any solution for this problem requires participation from development partners, and especially the UN World Food Program, to provide food to people, and she requested to provide aid to ‘the hungry, otherwise its project will not be successful and will not reach he right directions.’

“[Secretary of state at the Ministry of Health and director of Calmette Hospital] Dr. Heng Taikry could not be reached for comment, but he told The Cambodia Daily on Monday that he did not know anything about the findings of this research, yet he suspected that the rising food prices probably do not affect children’s health.

“He went on to say, ‘At present, Cambodian people have a better living standard and they can eat sufficient food.’

“The above survey is funded by the United Nations Children’s Fund – UNICEF – and by the United Nations Development Program – UNDP – asking 7,500 women and children to reflect on the influence of high food prices. The Institute of Statistics found that in 2008, food prices increased by 10%, more than the price of other consumer goods.

“A consultant of the Institute of Statistics, Mr. Joel Konkle, told The Cambodia Daily that the spread of diseases such as diarrhea, fever, serious respiratory diseases among small children increased, and further research is needed to define the extent of these diseases.

“He added that more serious malnutrition and child health conditions might be caused by high food prices, because research shows a declining consumption of expensive food, such as meat and fish. Malnutrition of children makes them easily susceptible to diseases.

“Mr. Joel Konkle added a warning that poor children in cities need emergency assistance, because of the increase in the number of malnourished children under the age of five, from 9.6% in 2005 to 15.9% in 2008.

“The Chief of the Children Survival Section of UNICEF, Ms. Viorica Berdaga, said that she was surprised that serious malnutrition of children under the age of two increased. She added that those involved in food security should summon a meeting soon and take action as quickly as possible.” Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

Newspapers Appearing on the Newsstand:
Thursday, 19 February 2009

Deum Ampil, Vol.3, #119, 19.2.2009

  • France Welcomes the Beginning of the First Hearing of the Tuol Sleng Prison Chief [Kaing Gek Eav, called Duch]
  • Samdech Dekchor Hun Sen Criticizes that Persons in the Fields of Education and Health Care Were Reduced [he agrees that in some fields it is necessary to reduce personnel by sending people into retirement without replacing them – but this should not relate to the fields of teachers and doctors]
  • Two Englishmen Died in a Royal Highness Hotel Room [the cause of deaths is not yet found – Phnom Penh]
  • The United States of America Adds 17,000 Troops for Afghanistan

Kampuchea Thmey, Vol.8, #1877, 19.2.2009

  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs Waits for a Final Investigation Report from Troops before Asking for an Explanation from the Siamese [Thai] Embassy
  • Brothels in Siem Reap Town Run Their Exploitation Grandly [their number is increasing, they have a bad influence on public morals and culture – local residents say that they are mostly operated by people from Vietnam]

Khmer Machas Srok, Vol.3, #347, 19.2.2009

  • Commander-In-Chief Pol Saroeun Said that Siam [Thailand] Unintentionally Fired into Khmer Territory, while [the chairperson of the Committee for Solving Border Disputes] Va Kimhong Said that It Violates Cambodian Territorial Integrity

Koh Santepheap, Vol.42, #6582, 19.2.2009

  • A Car of a Korean Delegation Crashed into the Ou Leang Kruos Bridge and Injured Three People Seriously [Strung Treng]
  • A Study for the Construction of a Hydro-Electric Dam at the Cheay Araeng River in Thma Bak District with 108 Megawatt and an Investment Capital of More Than US$325 Million Is Finished [by the China Southern Power Grid Company – Koh Kong]

Moneaksekar Khmer, Vol.16, #3691, 19.2.2009

  • [The president of the opposition party] Sam Rainsy Asked the Government to Take Immediate Action in View of [the declining] Prices of Agricultural Products, and to Cease Grabbing of Citizens’ Land
  • Duch’s Lawyers Demand the Release of Their Defendant during the Khmer Rouge Tribunal’s Hearing [they want to sue for the illegal detention of Duch in military prison since 1999 before he was transferred to the tribunal’s detention in 2007]

Rasmei Kampuchea, Vol.17, #4825, 19.2.2009

  • The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases
  • Vietnamese Documentary Videos Created Strong Arguments during Duch’s Hearing [his defense lawyers opposed the inclusion of these video as new evidence, saying that they are invented videos]
  • US Ambassador [Ms. Carol A. Rodley] Praises Telecommunication Sector in Cambodia
  • International Red Cross Encourages Improvement for Prisons in Cambodia
  • Vietnam Reacts against Human Rights Watch regarding Khmer Kampuchea Krom Case [by condemning Vietnam for cracking down on Khmer Krom people living at the Mekong delta and for restricting religious respect and freedom of expression; Vietnam said that the Khmer Kampuchea Krom community is a part that cannot be cut out from the 52 communities living in Vietnam, and Vietnam does not allow any form of discrimination and of racial divisions to happen]

Have a look at the last editorial – you can access it directly from the main page of the Mirror.

And please recommend us also to your colleagues and friends.

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2 Responses to “The Number of Children with Severe Malnutrition Increases – Thursday, 19.2.2009”

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The horrors of this are all to real. I have just started a block class at my high school (class lasting half the year), and we’re currently studying Africa. It’s sad to hear about the problems, but more about what’s going on with their children: famines, poverty, and, worst of all, child soldiers.

[…] The Mirror posts this terrifying story. As a person who writes about the value of food (value in an ‘anthropological’ as well as a cultural-economic manner), I am very nearly obsessed with agriculture and malnutrition. (n.b. We need more investment in farming!) While all the international headlines are congratulating the ECCC’s impending trial of ONE MAN from the Khmer Rouge regime as a sign of Cambodia’s genuine ‘progress,’ meanwhile more and more womena nd children are suffering from severe malnutrition. […]


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