Posts Tagged: “Essential Nutrition Actions”

The fight for Maternal and Child Health in Sub-Saharan Africa


This post was written by His Excellency Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete – President of the United Republic of Tanzania and originally appeared in Global Health and Diplomacy magazine.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health are lagging far behind target. Although Africa has just 12% of the global population, it accounts for half of all maternal deaths and half the deaths of children under five.

In Tanzania, attendance at prenatal clinics is over 94% but only 50% give birth at proper health facilities. It is not like in the United States where giving birth at home is a matter of choice. In our part of the world, women are unable to reach proper medical help at their most vulnerable time. I was born under the hand of a traditional birth attendant and I grew up healthy and strong to become the president of my country. It is my hope that we can provide the same opportunity to every child.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

How to Make a Difference: Meet HKI’s Jennifer Nielsen

An interview with HKI's Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health
Jennifer in Nepal

I often wonder how people actually get to live their dreams. I sat down recently with Jennifer Nielsen, Senior Program Manager for Nutrition and Health for Helen Keller International, and discovered someone who has actually done just that. Here is Jennifer’s story:


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Categories Africa, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles

My Favorite Food

How One Community Prevents Malnutrition by Monitoring the Growth of its Children.

Post by Douglas Steinberg, HKI’s Deputy Regional Director for West Africa.

In a recent visit to HKI’s work in Tsogal, Niger, replies to my queries about the harvest were not encouraging at all.

“Most families here have only harvested enough to feed their families for two months,” replied one farmer in the community. This year is shaping up to be much less bountiful than last year – but still better than the disastrous harvest of 2009. This is a time when young children are at risk of malnutrition.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

End of the Adventure: Five Strategies for Fighting Malnutrition

Doug reflects on how HKI is preventing blindness and reducing malnutrition for the most vulnerable in West Africa.
Breastfeeding in Kolifo

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.


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Categories Africa, Preventing Blindness, Reducing Malnutrition

Show Your Newborn Love

Doug Steinberg visits a village where HKI's Homestead Food Production is helping mothers raise healthier children

Doug Steinberg’s second post as his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof to Burkina Faso.

Today we drove west from Niamey, the capital of Niger, into eastern Burkina Faso. The evening before, there was a torrential rain, and the desert is blooming. We drove into a somewhat moister climate, and the thorn trees gave way to large broad-leaf trees, including the Shea butternut tree, which is the source of the Shea butter found in many cosmetics.

At the town of Fada N’Gourma in eastern Burkina, we turned onto a track heading off into the bush, which we followed to the village of Zona-Tenga, a site of our Homestead Food Production program.  We work with groups of women, particularly those of child bearing age, to diversify their diets by growing vitamin-rich vegetables and tending to small livestock, such as chickens and goats. These foods are excellent sources of vitamin A, iron, protein and fats – all of which are lacking in the diets of women and children in this region.


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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Breastfeeding in the Sahel

Shawn Baker visits two villages in Niger where exclusive breastfeeding has become the norm
Diffa Mother Breastfeeding

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.

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

Ferry From Mauritania

Shawn Baker describes his visit to a health center with Nicholas Kristof

Shawn Baker continues his travels with NY Times Journalist, Nicholas Kristof, and the two winners of his “Win-A-Trip” contest. Below is his second post.

My only prior trip to Mauritania was in 1987 when I visited the capital, Nouakchott. Having spent over two decades since living in or visiting 30 other African countries, I was not excepting to be surprised. However, from the time we left Senegal last Thursday – my home for the past eight years – to arriving back today, it was a constant source of amazement. Who could have known that all that separated me from a vastly different country was a ferry ride across the Senegal River?

The road between Nouakchott and the border with Senegal is the major economic lifeline of the country but it is hard to imagine that this narrow strip of macadam, eaten away by sand and salt air, regularly covered with sand dunes, and filled with bone-jarring potholes, is what facilitates commerce between two countries; the overall impression is a sparsely populated moonscape.

We stopped at a few places along the way to chat with villagers, so Nick could interview a lactating camel, and finally to visit a health center in the largest town between Nouakchott and Rosso. more…

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Categories Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

The Power of Nutrition: Meet HKI’s Dr. Victoria Quinn

An interview with HKI's Senior Vice President of Programs
Victoria Quinn in Bangladesh

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are what you eat?” In working for Helen Keller International, I’ve come to realize that this simple adage can mean different things to different people. In America, we often say it when we’re talking about losing weight. In developing countries, this simple phrase becomes a powerful reminder of the life and death impact nutrition can have on the lives of millions of people, especially young children. No one understands the importance of nutrition better than Dr. Victoria Quinn, HKI’s Senior Vice President of Programs. I met with Victoria recently to learn more about her background in nutrition and her views on the importance of nutrition on world health.


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Categories Africa, Asia-Pacific, Helen Keller, Reducing Malnutrition, Staff Profiles