Inflation likely to increase malnutrition cases in Bor – official

The state Ministry of Health in Jonglei has expressed fears that if inflation is not addressed in the country, there will be increased cases of malnutrition in Bor.

Malnutrition is an imbalance in dietary intake. It occurs when a person has too much or too little food or essential nutrients. A person with malnutrition may lack vitamins, minerals, and other essential substances that their body needs to function.

People may become malnourished if they do not eat enough food overall. However, people who eat plenty but do not have enough variation in their diet can also become malnourished.

Chot Kueth Kulong, director general at the Ministry of Health in Jonglei State says the government should fight hard so that this inflation in the entire Country is addressed.

Inflation is the rate of increase in prices over a given period. Inflation is typically a broad measure, such as the overall increase in prices or the increase in the cost of living in a country.

The inflation has been attributed to the depreciation of the South Sudanese Pounds. On June 9, 2023, the Bank of South Sudan exchange rate was at SSP981/USD.

Chot says the high market prices affect mostly those with low income and this will make them unable to bring food to the table because many families are now starving.

“Market prices have increased and this is affecting the economy and the community because some people are receiving little salary and with this high market prices, they will not be able to provide for their families,” he told TRC.

“So, the government at the national level should combat inflation across the country to curb malnutrition.”

He says apart from inflation, inadequate rainfall this year will also result in malnutrition cases as crops are drying up due to the sunny weather.

“The community used to cultivate at their homes. But this year, there is no hope for rain and communities will suffer; they will starve,’’ Chot added.

Many things can cause malnutrition, including inadequate or excessive food intake, infections, chronic illnesses, psychosocial deprivation, environmental factors, or even genetics. Even mild degrees of malnutrition can contribute to serious illness and even death.

Some of the symptoms of severe malnutrition include short stature, low energy levels, and swollen legs and stomach (edema/ascites).

In Bor town, malnutrition is reportedly increasing among the children and lactating mothers due to poor nutrition and feeding of both children and mothers.

The South Sudan Hunger Crisis 2022 shows that 1.4 million children are likely to suffer from acute malnutrition this year.