Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lack of clean water causing child stunting, wasting

Lack of clean water causing child stunting, wasting

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A nutrition information meeting in Kampong Thom province. SUPPLIED

Lack of clean water causing child stunting, wasting

The problems of a lack of access to clean water and sanitation was one of the leading causes of stunting and wasting in children under five years old, which had led to the government and relevant organisations setting 2023 goals of reducing the two categories, according to the Council for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD).

The CARD’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Nutrition Sub-Working Group – known as W&N SWG – organised a study tour in Kampong Thom and Siem Reap provinces from May 24-27 as part of the “Nutrition-Sensitive Water Supply, improved Sanitation, and Hygiene services” project.

Speaking during the four-day tour, W&N SWG co-chair Chea Samnang said clean water and sanitation shortages were some of the causes that 32 per cent of children under 5 years old were stunted, and 10 per cent were wasted.

Samnang mentioned four key indicators that are obvious problems in the shortages of clean water and sanitation.

“TWENTY-NINE per cent of rural households have the habit of open defecation. The disposal of infants or young children’s faeces and the improper putting of animal faeces is often the source of disease transmission to human hands as well as soil, water and food,” Samnang said.

He added that 41 per cent of rural households had no access to a basic water supply, while 84 per cent did not yet have access to a safe water supply and 23 per cent had no hand-washing facilities with water and soap.

He said the W&N SWG had set the 2023 national goals of reducing the stunting rate of children under 5 from 32 to 25 per cent in 2023. The rate of wastedness would be reduced from 10 to eight per cent by 2023.

Samnang told reporters during the study tour that the CARD aims to visit all provinces for the project.

“This year, we will have a national conference on future nutrition-sensitive targets. This will be the third, since we began the project in 2015,” he said.

UNICEF in Cambodia said the country was making steady but insufficient progress in meeting WASH targets.

It added that despite improvements in WASH systems and practices, Cambodia has the highest rate of open defecation in the region, with eight in 10 of the poorest rural Cambodians defecating out in fields, in open bodies of water, or other open spaces, rather than using a toilet.

“Children continue to be stunted and die from preventable sanitation- and water-related causes, because they do not have access to clean water, toilets and hand-washing facilities in their communities and schools. Particularly in rural areas, people have very limited understanding of the importance of proper sanitation and hygiene,” it said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Angkor lifetime pass, special Siem Reap travel offers planned

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to introduce a convenient, single lifetime pass for foreign travellers to visit Angkor Archaeological Park and potentially other areas. The move is designed to stimulate tourism to the culturally rich province of Siem Reap as the start of the “Visit

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker

  • Recap of this year’s ASEAN FM meet and look ahead

    This year’s edition of the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) hosted by Cambodia comes against the backdrop of heightened global tensions and increasing rivalry between major powers that have been compared to the animosity of the Cold War era. The following is The Post’