Terrific Initiative from Save The Children - Tackling Child Malnutrition!
AN OPEN LETTER FROM DAVE THE CHILDREN
Today, Save the Children launched a new flagship global report, A Life Free from Hunger – Tackling child malnutrition.
Each year 7.6 million children die before their fifth birthday. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of a third of these deaths. The challenge is clear: the world cannot achieve its Millennium Development Goal commitment to reduce child mortality by two thirds by 2015 unless it tackles child malnutrition.
Meeting this challenge is doubly urgent because among children who survive, chronic malnutrition causes devastating and irreversible damage. Lack of nutritious food, coupled with infection and illness, means their bodies and brains don’t develop properly. At least 170 million children are affected by stunting.
Tackling malnutrition is not only a moral obligation but good economics too. Left unchecked, malnutrition can lose a country 3–6% of the national income. Conversely, proven, low-cost nutritional interventions during childhood can lower the cost of healthcare and increase individual adult earnings by 46%.
Quotes from the New York supporters:
“Food and nutrition security are high on my action agenda for the next five years. I urge all partners to do their utmost to rise to this challenge. Together, we can unlock the potential of current and future generations.”
– Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
“The impact of stunting is hugely underestimated. The first 1,000 days of life - before birth until the 2nd birthday - determines a child’s life forever. After that it is simply too late to repair the damage to the bodies and brains of a child.”
– Anthony Lake, Executive Director of UNICEF
“Nutrition is at the base of human development. If you miss the early years there is a permanent gap.”
– Jeffrey Sachs, UN Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the MDGs
“Under nutrition is one of the world’s most serious and most neglected health problems, falling hardest on the very poor, and women and children. We need to encourage all stakeholders to champion nutrition into their development work.”
– Guillermo E. Rishchynski, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN
“Malnutrition is a silent crisis that kills slowly and doesn’t appear on death certificates. We must make malnutrition visible to ensure that the deaths of these children count and to hold governments accountable for preventing them.”
- Sara Ziff, Founder and Director of the Model Alliance
This new report sets out the scale and the causes of the malnutrition crisis, and recommendations for how it can be overcome. We are calling for national and international action by political leaders and the public to tackle the global malnutrition crisis head on by investing in solutions:
· Making malnutrition visible and setting a global target to reduce stunting
· Implementing 13 direct interventions such as vitamin A and zinc supplements, iodised salt, and promoting hand-washing, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices
· Protecting families from poverty through social protection schemes
· Making the global food system work for nutrition by improving children’s diets, investing in local farmers; improving education about nutrition; and investing in better research and evidence
2012 will be a critical year for catalyzing global political action on nutrition. Around the world, more and more voices are getting behind the call to tackle child malnutrition. This report presents the evidence to back that call.
We would welcome your thoughts on the report, and look forward to discussing its recommendations with you. I hope that we can collaborate with you in the coming year to ensure that every child gets the food they need to survive and thrive.
Debra A Jones
Director of UN Advocacy
Save the Children