BY LYNTON AARON FILIA
SOLOMON Islands has recorded the highest number of stunted children in the Pacific, according to report.
The report from UNICEF says 33 out of 100 children in Solomon Islands are stunted. In addition, only 30 out of 100 houses have proper water and toilet facilities.
Lack of sanitation facilities are said to contribute to child stunting. For example, Concern Worldwide says availability of diverse food, the way a child is fed and cared for access to clean drinking water, proper health care and hygiene and sanitation can all affect a child’s development.
This in turn will impact greatly on the opportunities for children to learn and develop and will also slower their growth rate.
Because of such a report, a high-level group consisting of various stakeholders will meet tomorrow (October 26) to discuss obstacles to the development of a child.
The forum will look at ways where stakeholders involved can reach an agreement whereby planning, budgeting and implementation of early childhood development is well coordinated while at the same time, work in coordination with the different sectors in the country.
Also, they will be discussing high-quality, equitable, and inclusive early childhood development in the Solomon Islands.
This in turn aims to increase commitments to invest in the young citizens.
Furthermore, Ministry of Education Human Resources Development (MEHRD) adds, investment in the development of the countries youngest citizens are one of the most cost-effective strategies for a healthier and more productive population.
Moreover, MEHRD says, highlighting studies on child development will yield dividends. This is through a stronger workforce, better health, and lower crime rates.
Stunting is defined as lower than average height for a child’s age which in turn negatively affects a child’s brain function, organ development and immune system. This can limit their future productivity and that of their children.
The Forum on Friday is organised by the Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development (MEHRD), together with the Ministry of Health and Medical Services as well as UNICEF.
According to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development approximately 60 delegates representing key Ministries of SIG, provincial premiers and representatives of the multi- and bilateral organisations in the country, and churches will attend.
The theme for the forum is “Building Human Resource Capital, Redirecting the Next 40 Years”.
The forum will be officially opened by the Prime Minister of Solomon Islands Mr Rick Houenipwela.