|SCN News, Number 09 - Focus on Micronutritients (ACC/SCN, 1993, 70 p.)|
(1993). UNICEF, New York. 40 pages.
In the words of James Grant, Executive Director of UNICEF in the foreword to this 40 page booklet this publication offers the UNICEF perspective - from the point of view of the children of the developing world, in particular - on the critical problem of nutrition: the dimensions of the problem and doable goals and strategies for combating it, at surprisingly low cost, during the 1990s
The first part of the booklet - after reminding us of the 1948 Universal Declaration on Human Rights' affirmation of the fundamental right or us all to adequate food, health and medical care - outlines succinctly the severity of the problems of hunger and malnutrition that still exist in the 1990s, including the combined effects of malnutrition and infection, and how these are seriously affecting the lives of many people in developing countries.
In a section called the ethical imperative, the booklet goes on to point out that knowledge is available to alleviate the problems - nutritional goals such as those laid down at the 1990 World Summit for Children are not simply ethical goals but are, UNICEF believes, achievable. This section also describes the newly recognized role of the poor in poverty alleviation - particularly women, whose participation, it states will lead to empowerment, mobilization of local resources, and sustainability.
The causes and effects of the four major forms of malnutrition existing in the developing world - protein-energy malnutrition, iron deficiency anaemia, vitamin A deficiency, and iodine deficiency - are discussed in the booklet together with strategies for achieving the conditions believed to be necessary for adequate nutrition: access to food (household food security); access to basic health services, together with a healthy environment; and care of children and women. Strategies discussed include:
· control of major micronutrient deficiencies (iodine, vitamin A and iron);
· protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding and improved child feeding practices;
· improved nutrition through community participation and empowerment, reflected in improved assessment, analysis and action (the triple-A approach), including support to community organizations and the use of community-based nutrition information systems; and
· improved national nutrition policies and strategies through dialogue, training and the refining of information systems (nutrition surveillance).
Interspersed with many photographs, the text of this booklet is highly readable and accessible to those interested in, but with perhaps a limited technical knowledge of, the global problems of malnutrition and hunger. The realities of the problem are shocking, but the booklet offers some optimism that, with adoption and implementation of the correct strategies the world can be free from hunger and malnutrition.
For further information please contact: UNICEF, 3, UN Plaza, New York, NY 10017, USA.