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Author Archives: Shawn Baker
What’s the protocol for visiting a former head of state? In Cape Verde, our delegation walked up to his door, knocked, and President Monteiro himself greeted us. This typifies the graciousness and modesty that he has shown in all of our interactions.
Shawn Baker describes being interviewed for "Francophone Africa's CNN" about HKI’s West Africa-wide food fortification initiative.
By Shawn Baker, HKI’s Vice President and Regional Director for Africa.
“Bonjour Monsieur Helen Keller” (“Good morning Mister Helen Keller”) greeted me this week on my morning run on the beach in Dakar. Several text messages and e-mails from friends and colleagues saying they had seen me on television came in later that day. I then realized that Africable was at it again – spreading the word about HKI’s work across French-speaking Africa.
HKI’s relationship with Africable started in 2010. This television station based in Bamako, Mali is positioning itself as the CNN equivalent of Francophone Africa. As part of their celebration of 50 years of independence of many countries in Africa, they organized a regional media tour to celebrate African integration and HKI’s West Africa-wide food fortification initiative was highlighted. Through that partnership, millions of households were informed about the benefits of essential vitamins and minerals being added to cooking oil and wheat flour, through interviews and engaging commercials like this one.
In honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, HKI's Jennifer Nielsen talks about her work promoting exclusive breastfeeding.
This post was written by Jennifer Nielsen.
My job as HKI’s Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health is, in some ways, not unlike that of advertising executive. I sell a product. In my case, the product is not fancy shoes or designer jeans, but healthy nutrition practices. Getting people to change their behaviors, even when it will improve their health, is not always easy (think of all the anti-smoking campaigns you have seen and how many people still smoke).
One of HKI’s key nutrition goals is to persuade mothers to feed their infants nothing but breast milk for the first 6 months of life, or as we like to say in the trade, to “exclusively breastfeed.” There are often cultural beliefs and traditions that prevent mothers from adopting this healthy practice, and it is my job to overcome these barriers and convince new moms that breast is truly best.
HKI experts make the case to include nutritional interventions in programs that treat NTDs.
HKI’s Shawn Baker, Yaobi Zhang, and Chad MacArthur recently contributed to an article on the role of nutrition in controlling Neglected Tropical Diseases published in the journal, BMC Medicine. Below is a blog about the article, which originally appeared on BioMed Central Blog, that argues this research could have major implications for the way NTD programs are delivered in the future.
Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a group of poverty-associated chronic infectious diseases, which are endemic in poor and rural populations in the developing countries of Africa, America and Asia. NTDs affect over 1.4 billion people worldwide and cause severe morbidity and mortality; their impact in sub-Saharan Africa is comparable to malaria or tuberculosis. The diseases, which include river blindness, leprosy and intestinal worms, are transmitted by insect bites or worms in the soil, and are easily spread in areas with poor sanitation.