More than 840 million people worldwide do not have enough to eat.* According to the World Health Organization, hunger is the gravest threat to the world’s public health. Food aid and development assistance are pivotal in creating food security that will eliminate nutrition deficiencies around the world. The most critical health-related problem faced by children in developing countries is malnutrition.
Caused by lack of nutrition education, inadequate harvests, natural disasters, human conflict, intestinal parasites and unequal food access, malnutrition remains the world’s biggest contributor to child mortality, causing 3.1 million child deaths annually.*
In addition to reducing resilience in the body, malnutrition also causes stunting, reduced brain size, skin conditions, and bone diseases. Even preventable diseases like diarrhoea and malaria can be life-threatening for a malnourished child. Their intellect is affected, thereby compromising their access to quality education.
One of the manifestations of malnutrition is stunting, which is a reduced growth rate in human development. And it is a prevalent problem in developing countries. One in four children under five years old is stunted.**
* Hunger Statistics, 2013, World Food Programme
Esperance, 45, has lost two of her 12 children to protein-energy malnutrition. Her second last-born, five-year-old Jeanette, suffers from stunting and is very short for her age. She was too weak to walk. Because of her severe malnutrition, even her hair colour changed to orange. With so many children to care for, Esperance and her husband struggle to earn enough to feed the family.