Malnutrition crisis: NSNP must provide 2 meals a day

Issued by Marina van Zyl MP – DA Shadow Deputy Minister of Basic Education
21 Jul 2023 in News

The DA urges the Department of Basic Education to ensure that provinces escalate the National School Nutrition Programme (NSNP) so that learners receive two meals a day from schools.

It is crucial that government does everything in its power to protect children from malnutrition and ensuring that they receive nutritious meals at their schools will go a long way in stemming the concerning rise in severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

The Department must also ensure that the NSNP is expanded to include early childhood development (ECD) centres as the past 5 years have seen a dramatic 26% increase in SAM in children younger than five. In April, a parliamentary question from the DA revealed that the past decade 12 582 children aged 0 to 5 years died in hospitals due to moderate and severe acute malnutrition.

Even more children might be at risk, as these numbers only include the diagnosed cases. It is crucial that government intervenes to prevent stunting which has a significant impact on academic achievement. All children deserve a quality education and that cannot exclude ensuring they are taught on full stomachs.

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