Malnutrition in Burundi

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Malnutrition in Burundi
Burundi is a typical example of a developing country notorious for hunger and
malnutrition problems. Actually, the nation tops in the Global Hunger Index and is expected to
remain in that position unless stringent measures are implemented to change the status. Despite a
gradual end to civil conflicts, food security in Burundi has continued to remain a significant
issue, subjecting a substantial portion of its population to malnutrition and hunger-related
illnesses. Close to half of rural population lives below the poverty line and suffers from
malnourishment. Currently, the country has an indicator ration of slightly above 35, making it
one of the hungriest nations in the world (Inamahoro et al. 16). In this context, ethical, social,
political, and environmental issues can be used to describe the nutritional problem affecting the
The global malnutrition index informs that more than 60 percent of Burundians are food-
insecure. The body has also found out that close to 58 percent of country’s population is
chronically malnourished (Global nutrion report 1). Despite a gradual return to peace, as
witnessed in the recent years, food security is yet to improve. On average, a yearly food deficit in
this developing nation is approximated to range from 20 to more than 30 percent compared with
the required 1,746, 000 tons of cereal annual. The situation has been worsening considering that
fact that per capita agricultural production has gone down by 24 percent in the last two and a half
decades with population (Cook 331). Additionally, the population has been growing at a rate of
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close to three percent per annum, which influences the situation as well. The food-shortage issue
in Burundi has caused severe nutritional issues.
In this context, the effect has come with a significant impact on the health of many
Burundians. Most of them, especially children, are hit with marasmus and kwashiorkor because
of food inadequacy in the country. Besides, many women and children are suffering from acute
lack of micronutrients in the diets. As a result, these groups are extremely exposed to contracting
diseases that come due to lack of these essential nutrients in the body. Since children and women
do not get enough iron, iodine, vitamin A, and zinc in their meals, they have been found to suffer
from poor physical growth and retarded intellectual development. Anemia, another serious health
problem, affects children and women in Burundi because of food shortage in the country.
Information provided by the World Bank indicates that more than 40 percent of pregnant women
and 55 percent of children aged five and below suffer from this infection. The cases of anemia,
kwashiorkor, marasmus, and poor physical as well as intellectual development are some of the
consequences of poor nutrition caused by food shortage in Burundi.
Besides health, the issue of malnutrition in the country can equally be placed in an ethical
context. For instance, the principle of justice requires people to be fair to others by giving them
what they deserve. However, leaders have not done anything positive to the citizens, as they have
failed to tackle the issue of malnutrition (Inamahoro et al. 16). In particular, they are supposed to
concentrate their efforts on implementing policies that would increase food production in the
country. Non-maleficence, another ethical theory, states that one should always refrain from
directly or indirectly harming others. In Burundi, it is the opposite, as those in power perpetrate
civil conflicts that affect food production and consequently cause the problem of malnutrition.
Like non-maleficence and justice, the principle of rights reinforces the need to give to
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individuals what is due to them. According to this theory, the issue of malnutrition in Burundi
could be solved by economically and socially empowering the citizens (Inamahoro et al, 18). The
explanation is equally supported by the model of beneficence, which requires those in the
leadership to help the people achieve their needs including the eradication of poverty and
malnutrition. Therefore, based on utilitarianism, the government of Burundi needs to ensure that
all its projects and actions are geared towards causing general good for its people. It is only by
doing so that the issue of malnutrition can be successfully tackled.
Besides ethical, the issue of malnutrition in Burundi can equally be placed in social,
political, and economic contexts. Socially, the government and other concerned bodies need to
empower the citizens, especially women by showing them how cheaply they can acquire
nutritious foods for their families. Politically, the government is supposed to formulate policies
and initiate projects to increase food production in the country (Akombi et al. 55). Educating and
training the citizens on how to irrigate their farms, to prevent complete overreliance on rains, is a
good economic way to fighting food shortage and malnutrition in Burundi.
In conclusion, malnutrition is a serious issue in Burundi. A significant portion of the
country’s population is malnourished and suffering from conditions, such as anemia, marasmus,
and poor intellectual development. In line with the various theories of ethics, it is upon those in
leadership in Burundi to empower the citizens through education, training, and initiation of
projects that would increase food production.
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Works Cited
Akombi, Blessing J., et al. "Child Malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Meta-Analysis of
Demographic and Health Surveys (2006-2016)." PloS one, vol. 12, no. 5, 2017.
Cook, R. "The general nutritional problems of Africa." African Affairs, vol. 65, no. 261, 1966,
pp. 329-340
Global nutrion report. 2014 Nutrion Country Profile: Burundi, Accessed 24
Jan. 2018.
Inamahoro, Chantal, et al. "Nutritional Recovery Outcome among Moderately Malnourished
Under-five Children in Communities Implementing Positive Deviance-Hearth or
Community Health Workers’ Nutrition Promotion Approaches in Karusi and Kirundo
Provinces, Burundi." Journal of Science and Sustainable Development, vol. 6, no. 1,
2017, pp. 5-18.

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