One of the most fulfilling experiences in my career was on a June day in 1999 on the far side of the Niger River in Niamey, Niger, when the President of the Republic launched National Micronutrient Days – enabling over of 80% of children in the country to get a life-saving vitamin A capsule. This was a milestone in an adventure that has transformed child survival in sub-Saharan Africa and it started in one of the poorest countries in the world with one of highest child mortality rates. A photograph from that day has figured in hundreds of presentations I have made since then. Canada was one of the key partners in that amazing event – and today it is moving to sign a $29 million grant with the Canadian International Development Agency that renews Canada’s commitment to saving lives in Africa and supporting one of our flagship programs.
Vitamin A supplementation is the single most cost-effective way to save children’s lives and it has been the pillar of HKI’s programs in Africa as we have expanded to now support national programs in 15 countries reaching over 47 million children every six months. The pioneering efforts taken on by the Government of Niger so long ago have catalyzed a wave of success across Africa – it has changed the goal posts of what we expect in delivering child survival services. There is no more complacency of just reaching children who are within walking distance of a health center – it is no longer acceptable to any government with which we work to deny any child vitamin A supplements and other essential child survival services. Another great source of satisfaction was in 2009 when the Assembly of Health Ministers of the Economic Community of West African States called on all 15 member countries to “Adopt a goal of universal coverage for vitamin A supplementation for children 6-59 months.”
This new grant from Canada allows us to help governments across Africa fulfill that commitment and calls on them to step up their support to cover recurrent costs of delivering these life-saving interventions.
This article was originally written by HKI President and CEO Kathy Spahn for the Global Post. View original post.
Commentary: G8 Summit gathering is opportunity to scale up international commitment to improving nutrition around the world.
A child in Tanzania receives a high dosage Vitamin A supplement. Photo c. HKI/Trevor Snapp
A group of government, business, science and NGO leaders are gathering in London for “Nutrition for Growth,” a special meeting hosted by theUK and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation to “galvanize leadership to deliver a transformational effect on maternal and child under nutrition across the world.”
This blog post was originally written by Victoria Quinn for the Huffington Post. View original post.
Measuring malnutrition in Mali. Photo c. HKI/Bartay
In May 2012 I wrote a piece for The Huffington Post about the need for G8 leaders to position strategies for preventing malnutrition high on the agenda for their annual summit. Back then I wrote, “indicators of child malnutrition, such as height, reflect much more accurately than gross domestic product whether development progress has truly been achieved in a country. Chronic malnutrition reduces not only the productivity of that specific individual, but also their entire community and country.”
Women Farmers in Fada N'Gourma, Burkina Faso, at a training nursery where orange-fleshed sweetpotato and other nutritious crops are being grown.
I also observed firsthand how bringing technical expertise to small-holder women farmers could be transformational – building on their traditional knowledge about gardening and allowing them to develop more skills and generate increased income.
It is very moving, this April, 19 years after having joined HKI, to sign this new grant with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
So, we have finished our first week in the office. We are official public health practitioners and it feels great.
Blog post by HKI-Vietnam Interns, Casey McCormick and Michael Wilson
After a long, but uneventful set of flights, Casey and I finally arrived in the bustling city of Hanoi just shy of 30 hours after leaving the North Carolina/Virginia area. We were very fortunate to find a very hospitable taxi driver who, aside from a persistent use of his high beams in order to make oncoming traffic aware of his presence, was extremely helpful in helping us to find the apartment Linh, from HKI Viet Nam, had arranged for us in the Bah Dinh district.
And so the countdown enters into single digits. In just two days, Michael and I begin our journey to Hanoi, Vietnam. I suppose before we continue anymore with the details of our summer, we should introduce ourselves. My name is Casey McCormick and my trusty sidekick and fellow intern is Michael Wilson. We are both master’s of public health students at the school in the southern slice of heaven, otherwise known as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michael and I have focused our studies within the department of Health Behavior with a specific concentration in global health. We are both beyond thrilled by the opportunity Helen Keller International has afforded us to work with HKI this summer as interns in their Hanoi office.
This posted was originally written for the Huffington Post by HKI President and CEO Kathy Spahn. View original post.
Mother’s Day is a time to come together as families and friends to celebrate some of our greatest nurturers, teachers and providers. It’s not easy being a mother under any circumstance, but I am particularly inspired by, and mindful of, the mothers we serve in countries where malnutrition and food insecurity still persist.
Salamata is a community leader, farmer, mother, and grandmother.
In her village in Burkina Faso in western Africa, Ouoba Salamata is a Grandmother—with a capital “G.” Not only does she care for her immediate family, but also for her entire village. And, like many grandmothers – with a small “g”, she has lived a life filled with hard work, sacrifice, and boundless love for her family.
Wherever I travel, the faces of everyday heroes become imprinted in my memory. I recently returned from a visit to Helen Keller International’s programs in Burkina Faso where I met Salamata, a hard-working, brave member of her village. When I saw how she has utilized HKI’s programs to transform life for her entire community, I knew I had to share her inspiring story with you.
Tags: Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Complementary Feeding, Essential Nutrition Actions, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Kathy Spahn, Mother's Day, Reducing Malnutrition, Sweetpotatoes, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition