Malaysia ranked 71st for childhood protection due to severe malnourishment and out-of-school rates

Released on Wednesday (May 29), the End of Childhood Index assesses where children are missing out on childhood the most.
Singapore Press Holdings

Some children in Malaysia are missing out on their childhood due to severe malnourishment and not being enrolled in schools, a study has found.

Malaysia has been placed 71st in a list of 176 countries, ranked according to childhood protection, published in the third annual Global Childhood report by non-profit Save the Children.

Released on Wednesday (May 29), the End of Childhood Index assesses where children are missing out on childhood the most, and scores each country on a scale of one to 1,000.

It also measures the extent to which children in each country experience “childhood enders” such as death, severe malnutrition, being out of school and shouldering the burdens of adult roles in work, marriage and motherhood, Save the Children said.

Malaysia’s score of 890 puts it in the category of places where “some children (are) missing out on childhood”, the report said.

The report said that 20.7 per cent of children aged 0 to 59 months in Malaysia were severely malnourished in the years 2013 to 2018.

Additionally, 13.4 per cent of children in Malaysia were not attending primary or secondary school in the same time period, the report revealed.

Meanwhile, the under-5 mortality rate for every 1,000 live births in Malaysia was 7.9, the findings showed.

Singapore, Sweden and Finland – which were classified as areas where few children were missing out on their childhood – clinched the top three spots with scores of 989, 986 and 985 respectively

Read also: Singapore is the best place in the world for children to grow up in, while the US trails at 36th place

Aside from Singapore, the only other Asian country on the list of top 10 countries was South Korea – which tied with Italy at eighth place – holding a score of 980.

Around the region, Australia ranked 15th, Japan ranked 19th while Malaysia took 71st spot.

The UK came in at 22nd place, and the US tied with China at 36th.

While the group said that 173 out of 176 countries are now doing better at giving their children full and stable childhoods compared to nine years ago, countries with armed conflict and widespread poverty remain at the bottom of the list.

According to the organisation, children in these places – such as lowest-ranking Central African Republic –  were “the least likely to fully experience childhood”.

Save the Children

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