Malnutrition is a problem that plagues families and children world-wide. It is the main problem in low-income families, and it opens wide to the disease door. There are multiple causes of malnutrition and infection and disease is the enemy to mankind. However, there are preventative measures, and techniques, to safeguard families and children.
A recent United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) report, The Progress of Nations, confirmed a large significant development in health and safety conditions for children world-wide. Through the intensive efforts of international and government organizations, mortality levels for children under five years have dropped in many countries. Nevertheless, each year millions more children could be pardoned by inexpensive and simple means, especially in emerging countries. Parents and caregivers in these lands may find the following recommendations helpful.
Breastfeeding is the best start toward good health and nutrition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “over 1 million infant lives a year could be saved if all babies were exclusively breastfed for about the first six months.” It is encouraging that in recent years, maternity units are continuing to set a great example. UNICEF and WHO are promoting a “baby-friendly hospital initiative.” The objective of both organizations is to motivate hospitals to give mothers of newborns encouragement, support, and proper advice regarding breast-feeding.
Clean water and Hygiene:
The levy of disease and infection could be reduced drastically by safe water, by washing hands before handling food, and by storing and preparing food safely. Disease spreading bacteria is invisible to humans. The practical way to handle water that one is unsure of to drink is to boil it for a solid 10 minutes, and then proceed to store in a covered container. Unsanitary conditions can attract flies, which transmit to food carrying the disease and filth that the flies pick up with their feet. It is important to dispose garbage properly, making sure the health and safety are safeguarded.
Vitamin-A is a supplementation which can prevent as much as three million children from dying each year. The answer to the problem is affordable and available simply by improving diets, fortifying foods, and distributing Vitamin A. Vitamin A capsules are as inexpensive as two-cents! By distributing the capsules occasionally to children proves extremely effective in lands where a deficiency is common. Also suggested are foods like mangoes, papayas, carrots, leafy vegetables, and eggs.
Overall, helping children, families, and caregivers to properly train one another and their neighbors to keep a proper hygiene, a clean environment, and a balanced diet will prevent more deaths, and educate our future generation to lead a more sanitary and nutritional lifestyle.
UNICEF (2006) Integrated Management of Childhood Illness.