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New Report Finds 46% of children in Timor-Leste malnourished, World Food Program Featured

DILI: Timor-Leste maintains Asia’s worst rate of child malnutrition, with over 46 percent of children suffering from stunting – conditions that permanently affect their mental and physical development – according to a new World Food Program  (WFP) report released Friday.

Responding to the findings, Timor-Leste’s Health Minister Odete Maria Freitas said openly that malnutrition levels were too high in Timor-Leste.

"I know that malnutrition of children in Timor-Leste is still high, therefore the Ministry of Health is working hard with international agencies in Timor-Leste and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to look at this problem together," Freitas told reporters.

Freitas said normally Timor-Leste’s malnutrition programs are funded by the European Union.

Commentators close to Dili have said that the impact of importing basic food from abroad has led to a rise in prices that the poorest and most vulnerable cannot always afford.

Freitas said the Ministry of Health would step up its collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and international agencies such as WFP, UNICEF ​​to reduce the number of malnutrition children in Timor-Leste.

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