KIGALI, Feb.19 (Xinhua) -- Chronic malnutrition among children remains a significant public health problem in Rwanda despite the remarkable economic progress the country has made over the past few years, said a report released here Wednesday.
Three out of 10 children are suffering from malnutrition in Rwanda, said Fidele Ngabo, nutrition specialist and the maternal and child health director at the Ministry of Health.
Ngabo made the remarks during the National Food and Nutrition Summit, which was attended by representatives from various Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and public servants to discuss ways of improving nutrition among children in Rwanda.
"The country lost 503.6 billion Rwf (740,5 million U.S. dollars) in 2012 in fighting against malnutrition," he said, citing that treating a severely underweight child, for example, is more costly than prevention.
The director said the growing food crisis in the Sahel region as well as raging cholera and measles in Cameroon have all contributed to the situation.
According to the latest report release by the World Food Organization (WFP), household food insecurity continues to be a challenge in Rwanda, despite the country's impressive economic recovery, with an annual GDP growth of 7.2 percent since 2010.
The northern and western areas bordering Lake Kivu and along the Congo Nile Crest are the most affected areas with a stunting rate rising over 60 percent. The life expectancy in Rwanda is 51 years.