"G8 must seize chance to tackle undernutrition"
In an article (BMJ 2010;340:c3289) by Mohamed Ag Ayoya, who has collaborated with Helen Keller International in the past, the author argues that it is possible to prevent the huge toll that child undernutrtion takes on the development of poor countries and communities with the introduction of a few high impact interventions. The interventions listed below include many that HKI actively promote:
- Promoting early and exclusive breast feeding
- Promoting breast feeding for two years or more
- Introducing complementary foods at age 6 months
- Providing micronutrients (vitamin A, zinc, iodine, and multiple micronutrients for children; iodine, iron and folate, and multiple micronutrients for pregnant women)
- A full course of vaccination and malaria prevention
- Promoting improved sanitation, along with good hygiene practice and facilities, including access to clean water and hand washing with soap
- Providing additional food supplements to populations with insecure access to food
- Treatment for childhood illnesses (diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, and measles), and
- Timely and high quality care for children with severe acute malnutrition.
Mr. Ayoya goes on to implore world leaders to commit to making nutrition a high priority or else they will, "miss a unique and historic opportunity to change the lives of voiceless, deprived, and vulnerable children whom they have been failing for so long."