Traditional Birth Attendants who received Essential Nutrition Training through HKI. Photo: c. HKI
This blog was written by HKI Bangladesh field intern, Hannah Taylor.
The thousand days between conception and a child’s second birthday is the most crucial period for physical development. During this time, appropriate nutrition for the mother and child, including the right quantity of energy-rich foods and a diverse diet of micronutrients, helps to ensure healthy physical growth and development. However, inadequate nutrition during this stage of a child’s development has severe health consequences lasting into adulthood. Undernourished children face higher risks of blindness, anemia, thyroid diseases, acute and chronic infections and the potential for lifelong stunting. While Bangladesh has seen significant improvement in infant mortality and undernutrition in children in the last two decades, the International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research, Bangladesh estimates that 41% of children under five years old in Bangladesh remain underweight.
Launch of NMDs 1999. Children singing that vitamin A “saves sight and lives”. June 30, 1999. Photo: c. HKI
Flying into Niamey, the capital of Niger, always feels like coming home. Since starting development work in 1981 it is the country that has the most marked me and where I have traveled the most extensively. We are accompanying a columnist from The New York Times, Nick Kristof, and his annual “Win-A-Trip” participant, Erin Luhmann and their videographer, Ben Solomon during their West Africa visit. They will go on from Niamey to a leprosy hospital further to the East, and then on to Chad. The flight in is at the perfect time of day in the perfect season. The beginning of the rainy season has washed off the dust and the foliage is a brilliant green, contrasting with the red earth. The end-of-day light gives the perfect glow to the landscape. Immigration at the airport is more nervous than usual about having journalists visit – perhaps because of the heightened security concerns. However with a little explanation on several fronts the team is out of the airport and off to their first visit in Niamey.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nicholas Kristof, Nick Kristof, Niger, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition, Shawn Baker, Vitamin A, Vitamin A Supplementation, Win-A-Trip
Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness
This blog was written by Caitlin Gruer, a field intern with HKI Cambodia.
A young beneficiary learns about nutrition. Photo c. HKI
Monday morning I was greeted with an excellent surprise when I arrived at the HKI headquarters in Phnom Penh: I was going to have my first opportunity to go into the field and meet with some of our program beneficiaries! Along with 3 of my colleagues here at HKI Cambodia, I traveled to Kampong Thom and Kampong Cham districts to conduct interviews about our Micronutrient Powder (MNP) program.
This blog post was written by Douglas Steinberg, HKI’s Regional Director of West Africa.
TIMBUKTU, JULY 1: Our short trip to Timbuktu today has brought back memories from when I worked in Mali in the early 1990s. I spent much time in the Timbuktu region, plying the Niger River in large canoes to visit communities located on the banks of the Niger River. Timbuktu is a mythical place for people in the West, who think of it as the end of the world, and in many respects it is about as remote as you can get. But it has also been for centuries a center of learning and trade on the edge of the Sahara. While much of Timbuktu’s heritage was destroyed during the Islamist occupation last year, the area surrounding Timbuktu remains constant. It is a land that depends on the annual floods of the river for rice farming, where large herds gather in lush pastures when the waters recede, and where a rich catch of fish can be taken year round. Life moves at the slow pace of the Niger River current, but all together the local diet is rich and diverse. Were it not for the political crisis, the region would be relatively well-nourished.
The last time I was in Timbuktu was 15 years ago when HKI was just developing programs in Mali and we were providing technical assistance to a partner NGO working in the region to carry out a baseline survey on anemia and other nutritional problems. A colleague from HKI and I spent 10 days working with the local team preparing the survey design, finalizing and field testing questionnaires and training survey workers. The trip to Timbuktu was brutal as when we turned off the paved road in Douentza we spent 15 hours crossing usually dry scrubland that had been transformed into mud flats by a downpour. We were thrown around in the back of a double cabin pick-up truck when we were not up to our ears in mud trying to get the truck unstuck.
This time I am accompanying a columnist from The New York Times, Nick Kristof, and his annual “Win-A-Trip” participant, Erin Luhmann and their videographer, Ben Solomon.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Anemia, Food Fortification, Mali, malnutrition, Nicholas Kristof, Nick Kristof, Reducing Malnutrition, Scaling Up Nutrition, Shawn Baker, Timbuktu, Vitamin A, vitamin a deficiency, Vitamin A Supplementation, Win-A-Trip
Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition
Amy Diallo is from the small village of Pout, which lies about 30 miles east of Dakar, Senegal’s ocean-side capital. The commercial farms in this region produce watermelon, coconut, grapefruit and mango – a colorful bounty that is out of reach for the average family in Senegal, where more than half the population lives in poverty. Instead, families commit scarce resources to staples like rice that fill empty bellies but lack essential micronutrients that protect the immune system and help children grow.
Nicole and Faith are in twelfth grade at Westmount Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Canada. They are both 17 years old and enrolled in a World Issues course this year. The course taught them about political, environmental, economical, and social issues present in the world today. As a final assignment, they were tasked to make a difference and spread awareness about an important cause. They chose Helen Keller International’s Vitamin A Supplementation program. Inspired by their dedication, I wanted to hear Nicole and Faith’s story about their journey to becoming advocates for HKI. So, I reached out with a few questions.
This post was written by Jennifer Nielsen, HKI’s Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health. It is part of a series of blogs organized by The Huffington Post and the NGO alliance InterAction to call attention to the crisis in the Sahel, a region in sub-Saharan Africa where more than 18 million people face starvation and 1.1 million children under the age of 5 are at risk of dying from acute malnutrition.
Although my e-mail is flooded with messages detailing the political, economic and climactic forces precipitating a hunger crisis in the Sahel, the story is strikingly absent from the news reaching most Americans. But because my work in the region has helped me see these vulnerable families as if they were my own, I am anguished by the situation.
This is the second blog post from Shawn Baker, Vice President and Regional Director for Africa, about his attendance at the 65th World Health Assembly last week to advocate for maternal, infant and young child nutrition.
We were all holding our breath waiting to find out the outcome of the Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) comprehensive implementation plan. So much of what HKI promotes is central to this plan, so it was critical that the resolution be passed. It was a real cliff-hanger – but in the final hours of Friday’s debates at the 65th World Health Assembly the plan was adopted unanimously – a real victory for nutrition and the timing couldn’t be better.