Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tip of the Iceberg

Malnutrition in the developing world has been described as an iceberg: acute malnutrition cases (low weight-for-height or weight-for-age) representing only a small portion of those whose nutritional status is negatively influencing their ability to develop into productive members of society. Experts acknowledge there are masses of children who are stunted (low height-for-age), desperately crying out from beneath the surface. This is indeed the case in 3 sub-counties in Bundibugyo, where results of the anthropometric survey WHM conducted in January reveal that 45% of the children we measured had a height-for-age < -2 z-scores from the median of an adequately nourished American reference population.

As we provide families with food aide such as dairy goats, chicken eggs, or groundnut paste, it is our hope that social norms will change so that feeding young children high-protein foods is acceptable. Training on how to care for dairy goats and chickens will increase feasibility and access such foods. Decentralized feeding centers will also help to increase general awareness of the importance of growth monitoring. Finally, we plan to provide additional community education through recipe trials and community dramas. Though these efforts seem small relative to the enormity of the problem, we have hope!

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Romans 15:13

“You gave abundant showers, O God; you refreshed your weary inheritance. Your people settled in it, and from your bounty, O God, you provided for the poor.” Psalm 68:9&10

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