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Constant cries and screams of children overwhelm your ears. Mothers can be seen struggling to give even the littlest of gifts to their children — food. They attempt to only live within their means and live lives without greed or materialism. But these people are forced into a life of the modern day where prosperity seems unreachable and daily living is a constant battle. The government changeovers and modernizing of their cultures seem to only take things away and trigger endless heartache and pain for these families simply wanting to make it another day.
195 million. That is the number of children under the age of 5 in the world who are malnourished. Not by choice, but simply from the conditions they and their families have been forced into for years.
Donors all over the world, including the US government, donate food in order to halt the issue with hunger so many nations are dealing with. But hunger is different than malnutrition. We temporarily solve the problem with a bland, carb-heavy cereal-based blend that alleviates the daily pains of hunger, but does little to nothing for their overall health and development. This cereal-like food, which most countries won’t even use in their own nutritional programs, does not meet basic nutritional standards for infants and young children. Energy-rich foods, like milk, fish, and eggs that contain everything their growing bodies require need to be made available.
I’ve brought up the importance of proper nutrition many times on our twitter and facebook pages, as well as our blog. A young child, in any part of the world, requires over 40 essential nutrients to grow and be healthy. These nutrients allow our bones to grow, our skin to heal, our minds to develop and our immune systems to strengthen. At times, we don’t get all the nutrients we need because we aren’t choosing to eat the right foods; but there are 195 million children in the world who simply don’t have this choice at all.
Malnutrition during the first few years of a child’s life will ultimately lead toward life-long health and mental problems. In fact, malnutrition contributes to at least one-third of the 8 million annual deaths of children under 5 years old. Their immune systems become so weak, even the common cold could end their lives.
Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization, has started a campaign to get these children what they deserve to have a chance at a long, healthy life. “Starved for Attention” is here to make these children visible and bring to light the very real problem in this world that is malnutrition. Encourage international donors to support programs that will provide adequate nutrition for the children of these developing nations.
We’ve chosen to rewrite the story. We ask that you do as well to spread this message in every way possible.
Follow the efforts of Doctors Without Borders and their Starved for Attention campaign on:
Photo credit: © Marcus Bleasdale/VII
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