UNICEF flags inflation’s impact on child malnutrition in PHL

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By Vince Angelo C. Ferreras

THE United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) have flagged the impact of inflation on malnutrition among children in the country.

“While majority of Filipinos are already experiencing the effects of a better economy, there are millions of Filipino children who are being left behind,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander said at the launching of UNICEF’s Situation Analysis Report of Children in the Philippines on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

According to the report by UNICEF, poverty rates vary significantly in the country, from 3.9% in the National Capital Region to 53.7% in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

The report also showed three out of 10 children nationwide living in poverty, with that number doubling to 6.5 in ARMM.

“It is sad that the inflation now is so rapid and that it can actually directly or indirectly affect children’s health,” Ms. Sylwander said.

The country’s inflation as of September reached 6.7%.

UNICEF reported that the Philippines has very high levels of stunting (33%) and underweight (21.5%) children under five years.

NEDA Assistant Secretary Carlo B. Abad Santos for his part said: “Poor people have a big chunk of their income for food and if food prices grow up, then they would not spend more or with the money they have, they will spend less on food which will have impact on their nutrition.”

Mr. Abad Santos suggested that rice tariffication and reviewing of agricultural policies could help address issues on food supply and malnutrition.