News / USA

Global Activists Seek Improved Nutrition for Pregnant Women, Infants

A mother feeds her malnourished child at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre in Sheopur district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2010
A mother feeds her malnourished child at the Nutritional Rehabilitation Centre in Sheopur district in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2010

Multimedia

Laurel Bowman

Malnutrition in the 1,000 days from the early stages of pregnancy through the age of two, causes irreversible physical and mental damage in one out of every three children worldwide. That's according to Bread for the World Institute, an organization that aims to end hunger across the globe. The group convened a massive gathering Monday in Washington, D.C, in an effort to build political momentum for its cause - improving nutrition for pregnant women and infants around the world.

In the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, infant mortality is dropping. Free prenatal care, offered close to home, is the key to India’s campaign to reduce maternal and infant deaths. Health clinic workers teach mothers how to meet their babies’ nutritional needs and how to sustain themselves with proper foods while pregnant.

“I come every two weeks for a check-up and they give me the medication and supplements I need," said one pregnant young woman, Sunati, in Tamil. "They also ask me to eat a lot of greens, iron-rich foods and eggs.”

Malnutrition among pregnant women and infants was the focus of the conference. Hundreds of aid workers and activists gathered to build political momentum for nutrition efforts they say could save 1 million children every year.

Asma Lateef is with Bread for the World, which aims to end hunger worldwide.

"We know now that if you miss the 1,000 days window of opportunity between pregnancy and age two, the impact on a child is irreversible," said Lateef. "There is nothing you can do to make up for malnutrition during that critical window of opportunity.”

Lateef said efforts as simple as hand-washing - to reduce diarrhea - and breast-feeding - the healthiest alternative for infants - go a long way toward fighting malnutrition. And she said these relatively cheap investments on the front-end save nations money down the line.

“Countries with a high burden of malnutrition - and there are 36 countries in the world that have a high burden of malnutrition - for those countries they lose two percent to three percent of their gross national product or their national income because of malnutrition," she said.  "That’s a catastrophic loss… ”

Global nutrition activists hope to make theirs a more popular cause. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has given weight to their efforts.  She launched the One Thousand Days Partnership at the U.N. Development Goals Summit last year. The aim: ending child malnutrition.

“The Obama administration has put women and children at the heart of our development efforts, including our global health initiative - a $63-billion initiative to strengthen maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition," said Clinton.

Maternal and infant nutrition experts say those countries struggling with chronic hunger must take the lead in combating their nations’ problems, backed up by wealthy donor nations delivering sustained support.

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More