UN concerned over rising child malnutrition in Cambodia due to COVID-19 hinh anh 1Illustrative image (Photo: AFP) 

Phnom Penh (VNA)
- UN agencies have come together to urge Cambodia to focus on children’s rights to healthy diets as malnutrition among children in the country is in danger of rising amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Khmer Times on August 4 quoted UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore as saying that in countries like Cambodia, the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 is disrupting food security, livelihoods and the economy.

A joint statement of UNICEF, WEF, FAO and WHO appealed to governments, the public, donors and the private sector around the world to protect children’s right to nutrition worldwide, including in Cambodia, by focusing on five core issues.

They include safeguarding access to nutritious, safe and affordable diets; investing decisively in support of maternal and child nutrition by protecting breastfeeding; preventing the inappropriate marketing of infant formula and securing children and women’s access to nutritious and diverse foods.

The statement highlighted a need to re-activate and scale-up services for the early detection and treatment of child wasting while maintaining the provision of nutritious and safe school meals, expand social protection to safeguard access to nutritious diets and essential services among the poorest and most affected households.

The statement also said severe acute malnutrition continues to be a major cause of death in children under the age of five in Cambodia,with around 2.5 percent (60,000 to 90,000 cases) needing specialised medical treatment, including therapeutic feeding at a cost of 113 USD per child, every year.

According to the World Bank 2020 Spring Cambodia Economic Update, food prices, particularly for meat, eggs and some fish products in Phnom Penh and fresh vegetables in provincial markets, have all increased./.