Today I would like to talk to you about an issue that most believe isn’t relevant anymore. This is still an extremely current disease and does not receive the attention it deserves: Malnutrition. 

Malnutrition is a disease that affects the most vulnerable, such as the elderly, pregnant and lactating women and, above of all, children. Although It can be prevented and treated, malnutrition is still the main cause of death for 3 million children every year.

There is little awareness of what is referred to when we discuss malnutrition, this is why I intend to share with you what I have personally discovered. 

There exist two types of malnutrition in childrenThe first is represented by chronic, or “stunting” malnutrition, the result of a prolonged deprivation of basic nutrients, especially within the first 1,000 days of a child’s life. These beginning days are essential to his/her future development. Chronic malnutrition, in fact, causes irreversible damages to intellectual and physical development, weakens the immune system’s response to disease and reduces cognitive abilities. There are currently 154 million children worldwide under the age of 5 who suffer from this disease. This figure left me deeply upset. 

I also found out that the second type of malnutrition in children, acute, or “wasting” malnutrition, develops very fast, within days or few weeks. It is usually detected by measuring a child’s upper arm’s circumference with a bracelet called “MUAC”. When I saw how tiny a child’s arm can get, my heart brokeIt’s a disturbing image. 

Acute malnutrition is often caused by a combination of a scarcity of nutrients and infection or disease caused by contaminated water. Acute malnutrition can be “moderate” or “severe”, which is the deadliest form. All over the world, 52million children under 5 years of age suffer from acute malnutrition. When they told me that this figure means one child out of 12, I couldn’t believe it!

Even though Africa is the continent with the highest percentage of malnourished children, the highest number of sick children is in Asia, with 27 million malnourished children in South-East Asia alone.

As if the situation wasn’t tragic enough, there is a detail that makes it truly unacceptable: solutions to cure malnutrition do exist, they’re very effective and also cheap. 

In 1993 Azione Contro la Fame (Action against Hunger) was the first humanitarian organization to successfully test a special formula of therapeutic milk in Rwanda. It is very easy to digest and rich in nutrients. It is also able to treat severely malnourished children. Four years later, in Chad, Azione Contro la Fame Azione once again successfully experimented the first ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUFT): a highly nutritious pasty food made essentially of peanuts with the addition of a vitamin, mineral complex and hydrogenated vegetable fat. This formula can also be used practically outside hospitals, without water and need of refrigeration and preparation. 

This ready-to-use therapeutic food is a life-saver for children especially since it is extremely simple to use and cheap for families. It has transformed the way malnutrition is treated.

In fact, a package of therapeutic food only costs 25 cents and in many cases, a child needs only two packages per day between a period of 4 to 8 weeks to make him or her healthy again. It’s incredible to see the pictures of children before and after the treatment. 

And yet only 20% of malnourished children over the world are granted access to this treatment.

 To put it lightly, this is completely unacceptable and the reason why on World Food Day (October 16th)I will support Azione Contro la Fame, a global humanitarian organization that takes decisive action against malnutrition. You too can support us by downloading the #inaccettabile campaign Facebook cover at this link and help us spread the message that dying from hunger is unacceptable. 

If you’d like, you can also make a donation:

IBAN: IT38A0335901600100000103078

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2017-10-06T22:15:37+00:00 07/10/17|

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