MASERU — More than half of all children in Lesotho are living in absolute poverty.
This is according to the latest figures released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) this week.
The 2010 Child Poverty Study said about 52 percent of Lesotho’s children are poor and live below the poverty datum line.
The study showed that half the country’s children are living on less that US$1.50 (M12.80) a day.
“One in two children under the age of 18 years is living in a household that is below the national poverty line.
“Fifty-two percent of the country’s children are deprived of two or more areas critical for their well-being,” Ahmed Magan, Unicef’s representative in Lesotho, said.
The study sought to investigate the extent and causes of child poverty and its impact on children in Lesotho.
The deprivations were measured in the areas of access to food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health care, shelter, education and information.
The study found out that 52 percent of the children had two or more deprivations making them absolutely poor.
“The most common deprivation is shelter, with over half of children being severely deprived on this dimension at 53 percent, while sanitation at 40 percent and access to clean water at 37 percent, were also very high,” the study said.
It also noted a rise in under-five mortality from 71 per 1 000 live births in 1997 to 117 deaths per 1 000 live births.
This was attributed to the HIV/Aids pandemic which has children being infected through mother-to-child transmission.
Lesotho has the third highest HIV prevalence rate in the world.