This post was written by Shawn Baker, HKI’s vice president and regional director for Africa.
Arriving in the capital of Kenya, Nairobi, it is hard to imagine the gravity of the food and nutrition crisis hitting the Horn of Africa region. Nairobi is a bustling commercial hub for all of East Africa and seems far removed from the horrific images from Somalia and other affected countries. But reading the newspapers and working with partners such as the Kenyan Ministry of Health, UNICEF, World Food Program and Save the Children – you are quickly caught up in the urgency of the response. Nairobi is home to many of the agencies responding to the crisis in Kenya, and most organizations that are working in Somalia also base their operations here.
Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Today, we drove the 150 miles from Fada N’Gourma to Ouagadougou – the last leg before flying out tomorrow morning. On arriving in Ouagadougou, Nicholas Kristof and the “Win-a-Trip” winners visited a center for supporting people living with HIV. Over the course of the past week, Shawn Baker and I have accompanied Nick through four countries – Mauritania, Senegal, Niger and Burkina Faso. We’ve been in numerous villages, and we’ve spoken in depth with many people – mostly women – about the challenges of their lives and the solutions to help improve their lot.
In pursuit of HKI’s mission to prevent blindness and reduce undernutrition, we focus on two major program areas in Africa – fighting malnutrition (particularly micronutrient deficiency), and controlling certain tropical diseases, such as trachoma and onchocerciasis. During this past week, we have seen some successful programs in each of these areas. During these days, I’ve been reflecting on HKI’s approach to reducing malnutrition.
Tags: Acute Malnutrition, Biofortification, Breastfeeding, Burkina Faso, Douglas Steinberg, Essential Nutrition Actions, Food Fortification, Gardens, Homestead Food Production, Neglected Tropical Diseases, Nicholas Kristof, Niger, Onchocerciasis, Sweetpotatoes, Trachoma, Vitamin A
Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition
Shawn Baker visits two villages in Niger where exclusive breastfeeding has become the norm
The next chapter in Shawn Baker’s travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s column on June 22nd, The Breast Milk Cure, also discusses the merits of exclusive breastfeeding.
We spent the night in the Magama Hotel in Dogon Doutchi. The last time I stayed here was in August 2010 and its services are as rudimentary as I remember. It is a magical time in the Sahel as the start of the rainy season transforms the countryside. It rained last night and we were kept company throughout the evening by a chorus of breeding toads taking advantage of the fresh puddles. The omelets and bread across the street were a welcome start to the day, and almost made up for a less than comfortable night’s sleep.
Shawn Baker reports from a nutrition rehabilitation clinic in Niger that treats children with acute malnutrition.
Another installment in Shawn Baker’s continuing adventures traveling with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof.
We all met up early at the airport in Dakar to take the flight to Niamey, the capital of Niger. The pilot announced that the ground temperature was 38 degrees Celsius (that’s 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit!) – indicating we had left the relatively cool temperatures of Nouakchott and Dakar behind. Our team in Niamey, led by HKI’s Country Director in Niger, Marily Knieriemen, met us at the airport and we had a late lunch at Marily’s house before heading off to Dogon Doutchi – a market town about 20 km (12.4 miles) from the border with Nigeria.
A traditional healer and an HKI Community Health Agent work together to protect malnourished children.
This post orignially appeared as a success story on 1,000 Days’ website. The 1,000 Days partnership seeks to improve nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day period from pregnancy to age two when better nutrition can have a life-changing impact on a child’s future.
In Mali, Helen Keller International has developed a program to both treat and prevent malnutrition, an acute public health problem in this part of the world. HKI’s Senior Nutritionist in Mali, Vanessa Dickey, explains how a traditional healer and an HKI Community Health Agent found common ground to protect the health of malnourished children in the Koulikoro Region.
My colleague, Oumou Sangare, noticed a worrisome trend in the health district of Banamba; children diagnosed with acute malnutrition were not going to the local health center for the treatment they desperately needed. She was determined to find out the reason for this behavior.
In just a few days we officially celebrate Mother’s Day. At Helen Keller International, we celebrate mothers all year round since they are crucial to the success of our program that prevent blindness and reduce malnutrition.
One constant I have observed while traveling to HKI’s programs around the world is the love that mothers have for their children and their willingness to try new things to ensure their health and happiness.
A famine in Niger is threatening the lives of nearly 400,000 children.
Right now a humanitarian crisis is devastating the lives of millions. But you may not have heard of it. It’s neither the terrible earthquake in Haiti nor the destructive flooding in Pakistan. In the fragile country of Niger, located in sub-Saharan Africa, a food crisis – a famine actually – is affecting over 7 million people, or half of the country’s total population. Children – as many as 400,000 − are dying from starvation and diseases exacerbated by malnutrition.