Image: The growth monitoring kit used by Burnet in Lao PDR.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated one in seven children is underweight in developing countries with the most underweight children living in Southern Asia.
Childhood malnutrition is an underlying cause of an estimated 45 percent of deaths among children under five. Issues associated with malnutrition include:
- foetal growth restriction
- sub-optimum breastfeeding
- vitamin A and zinc deficiencies.
Our Public Health Focus
In 2017, Burnet Institute reviewed a report written by Save The Children, SHORT CHANGED: The Human and Economic Cost of Child Undernutrition in Papua New Guinea. The report found that child undernutrition cost the PNG economy up to $US1.5 billion in a the 2015-16 financial year, representing 8.45 per cent of PNG’s gross domestic product.
We aimed to improve the health of mothers and children in 12 villages near the LXML mine in Vilabouly district by providing better antenatal and postnatal care, improving the nutrition of young children, and increasing the capacity of district health workers to plan and manage health programs.
The Institute carried out an evaluation to inform the development of a nutrition policy for the Australian aid program, to guide the strategic approach of the aid program in addressing child undernutrition.