The latest edition of the Global Hunger Index shows promising progress, but some countries are suffering from hidden hunger. AFP reports:
“More than two billion people worldwide suffer from hidden hunger, more than double the 805 million people who do not have enough calories to eat,” the Washington-based institute said in its report.
“This shortage in essential vitamins and minerals can have long-term, irreversible health effects as well as socioeconomic consequences that can erode a person’s well-being and development.
“By affecting people’s productivity, it can also take a toll on countries’ economies.”
Hidden hunger can be caused by a poor diet, health problems such as diseases, infections or parasites, and increased needs for micronutrients during certain life stages, such as pregnancy or infancy, the report said.
Many developing countries face the so-called “triple burden” of malnutrition — undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and obesity.
The problem also exists in higher income countries and even an obese child can suffer from hidden hunger.
According to the report, nutrient deficiencies cause an estimated 1.1 million of the 3.1 million child deaths that occur each year as a result of undernutrition.
And nearly 18 million babies are born with brain damage annually due to iodine deficiency.
The report offered a number of solutions to the problem, such as diversifying diets or adding tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals to commercial staple foods or condiments during processing.
Spotlight on PSI
PSI Ambassador Mandy Moore and Moms For Social Good founder Jennifer James are traveling to Tanzania this week to spotlight the vital contributions of health workers to global health and development.
Global Health and Development Beat
Many Liberian health care workers on the frontline of the battle against Ebola ignored calls on Monday to strike over poor pay and working conditions, and most hospitals and clinics were operating normally, officials and charity workers said.
The WHO called the Ebola outbreak “the most severe, acute health emergency seen in modern times” but also said Monday that economic disruptions can be curbed if people are adequately informed to prevent irrational moves to dodge infection.
Three of the Philippines largest child rights organizations, Save the Children, Plan International, and World Vision, unite to push passage of House Bill 5062 or the “Children’s Emergency Relief and Protection Act,” which calls for a comprehensive plan to be put in place to protect the rights of children in disasters and emergencies.
A Texas health worker has contracted Ebola after treating a Liberian who died of the disease in Dallas last week, raising concern about how U.S. medical guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of the disease were breached.
International donors pledged $5.4bn towards the rebuilding of Gaza after the recent 50-day war, but 100,000 Palestinians will still be homeless in the territory as winter arrives.
Ugandan health officials said Monday that they are continuing to monitor five people feared to have contracted the Ebola-like Marburg virus, even though all suspected cases so far have tested negative.
As Liberia tries to end a months-long Ebola crisis, local and international media rights groups report an intensifying crackdown on journalists in the country. But some of those journalists say this is only a continuation of Liberia’s bad record on press freedom.
Elliott Adekoya, a DJ at Monrovia’s Sky FM radio, is part of a group of 45 Liberian musicians called the Save Liberia Project. They want to get the word out that Ebola is real, but it is not a death sentence.
Buzzing in the Blogs
Women Deliver CEO Katja Iversen blogs in the Huffington Post about the fact that women bear the brunt of the Ebola crisis in West Africa and why that makes them crucial to solving the problem. An excerpt:
In Guinea’s most affected district, the use of family planning dropped 88 percent over the past year and delivery assistance fell by a third as women’s use of health services plummeted. As a result, doctors in all three countries report that more pregnant women are dying from preventable causes like hemorrhage and hypertension, and the risk of unintended pregnancy is rising.
The situation has strong economic implications, as well as health impacts. Food production is likely to be affected as women fall ill because most smallholder farmers are women, especially in Sierra Leone. Border and quarantine restrictions will keep women traders from the markets that distribute food, reducing their income.
These grim facts mean that while women are the most affected by the Ebola crisis, they are also key to its solution. Any actions to control Ebola’s spread must incorporate measures to deal with its outsized impact on women, taking into consideration their multiple roles as family caregivers, social actors and economic producers. For example, every dollar of spending on family planning alone saves at least $6 in costs associated with unintended pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality – funds that could go to improve crisis response or basic infrastructure.
Ensuring women have access to basic health care, particularly sexual and reproductive health care, have rarely been met in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in the best of pre-Ebola circumstances, and are now even more critically important. While the world works urgently to contain the crisis and treat those infected with Ebola, we must recognize the long-term needs of the population most affected in order to help prevent further outbreaks – and that means investing in girls and women.
9:30 AM – Conflict Prevention and Resolution: Ebola, Health Security, Conflict and Peacebuilding – SAIS
3:00 PM – Scaling Up or Expanding Out? What Happens When Development Programs Grow – Wilson Center
8:30 AM – New Growth Strategies: Delivering on their Promise – World Bank Group
12:00 PM – Crisis Communications: Protocols, Pitfalls, and Perceptions – SID
1:00 PM – Africa’s Stalled Fertility Transition: Causes, Cures, and Consequences? – Wilson Center
12:30 PM – The Changing World of International Development: How is hte Business of Development is Changing, How are Development Organizations Adjusting to these Changes, and What’s Coming Next? – Georgetown University
2:00 PM – OECD Perspectives on Global Development – Wilson Center
8:30 AM – Ensuring Equity for NCDs in Women’s Health Throughout the Life Course – FHI 360
12:30 PM – Reaching the Most Vulnerable through Social and Gender Analysis: Lessons from Field Research in Mali, Ghana and Malawi – SID
By Mark Leon Goldberg and Tom Murphy
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Disclaimer: Opinions presented in this email do not necessarily reflect the views of PSI.