By David Himbara
General Paul Kagame’s Singapore of Africa is a harsh environment for children – stunting rates in the country rise to 41 percent in parts of rural Rwanda.
Stunted growth refers to hunger and the resulting failure to reach one’s full potential for growth. The most direct causes are inadequate nutrition – not eating enough or eating foods that lack growth-promoting nutrients.
Stunting is largely irreversible: a child cannot recover height in the same way that they can regain weight. Stunted children grow up to be economically disadvantaged, and more likely to suffer from chronic diseases.
According to Rwanda’s Demographic and Health Survey 2019–20, 33 percent of the children are stunted and 9% are severely stunted.
A higher proportion of children in rural areas at 36 percent are stunted versus 20 percent in urban areas.
The worst-hit areas are Northern province with 41 percent stunting rate and Western province at 40 percent.
Stunting is inversely related to the wealth quintile; 49 percent of the children in the lowest wealth quintile are stunted, as compared with 11 percent of children in the highest quintile.