SAHRC wants child malnutrition in E Cape declared a disaster

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The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) wants child malnutrition in the Eastern Cape declared a disaster in terms of the Disaster Management Act.

This comes after the commission found that 120 children in the province died of malnutrition from 2021 to 2022, while 1 000 were diagnosed with acute malnutrition.

The SAHRC has called on the government to intervene immediately and decisively to address the crisis.

“We suspect that the number in fact is much higher,” said Dr Eileen Carter, the head of the SAHRC in the Eastern Cape. “When you present with severe acute malnutrition, that’s a very end state of malnutrition. The kids who are still at home and presenting with this might succumb to other causes.”

Malnutrition is a threat to children

Carter added that child malnutrition is an absolute national crisis.

“We have a 27% stunting rate amongst children in South Africa,” she said. “This means that it’s not only a now crisis, it’s an issue that will play out in a few years’ time. With this report, the SAHRC is saying let’s look at the rights of the children and let’s act accordingly.”