Support for Breast-Feeding, in a Multitude of Ways, Jane E. Brody, The New York Times
With access to timely information, professional and workplace support, and hands-on help when needed, many more women would breastfeed their babies, and do so exclusively for the first half year of life as recommended by the WHO. Today, more than three-fourths of women start to breast-feed, although more than half end up weaning their babies sooner than they would have liked, often short of six months. During pregnancy, women trying to decide whether to breast-feed deserve to be informed about its benefits and barriers and be given an opportunity and assistance to find ways around any obstacles.
How to Reduce India’s Infant Mortality Rate, Suryatapa Bhattacharya, The Wall Street Journal
Child mortality rates in India could be significantly reduced if community health workers visited new mothers regularly, a new study suggests. The study, published in the Lancet, aimed to find ways to reduce India’s child mortality rate, which lags behind most of its neighbors including Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Researchers followed health workers who visited rural homes after a child was born and encouraged women to access post-natal programs to learn about nutrition, vaccination schedules, and breastfeeding. Some of the simple, yet effective, lessons came from teaching new mothers how to wrap newborns to prevent exposure to cold, skin-to-skin care, birth preparedness, and making sure they reached a hospital in time for medical care.
How Text Messages and Volunteer Midwives Are Saving Lives in Rwanda, Sophie Goodchild, The Guardian
Rwanda’s 45,000 community health workers, including 15,000 dedicated to improving maternity support, are helping to transform healthcare in rural areas. Elected by village committees, these volunteers have contributed significantly to Rwanda’s progress in reducing the deaths of mothers and young children. Behind this success is RapidSMS, a simple mobile phone and data collection system used by health workers to monitor pregnant women and newborns. Piloted by the health ministry in 2009, the service enables healthcare workers to track child nutrition as well as analyze maternal deaths.
Measuring the Cost of Hunger in Africa's Emerging Economies, The Guardian
Africa is home to the world’s fourth largest economy, holds one-third of the world’s mineral reserves and one-tenth of its oil. Economic growth in the last decade has averaged more than 5 percent per year, yet nearly a third of the estimated 868 million people affected by hunger and food insecurity live on the continent. There are more children that are stunted—they are short for their age, an indicator of chronic malnutrition—in Africa than there were 20 years ago, a situation that poses a major risk to future economic development.
“2011 is a time of opportunity to achieve lasting progress against global hunger and malnutrition.”
“As our governments take action, we need the international community to do its part as well. A green revolution in Africa depends on locally driven solutions plus reliable donor support. Neither ingredient is sufficient on its own – both are indispensable.”
Digital Preview of The First 1,000 Days
In his new book, The First 1,000 Days, Council senior fellow Roger Thurow illuminates the 1,000 Days initiative to end early childhood malnutrition through the compelling stories of new mothers in Uganda, India, Guatemala, and Chicago. Get a first-look at photos and stories from the book in this new web interactive.
Roger Thurow’s book will tell the story of the vital importance of proper nutrition and health care in the 1,000 days window from the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy to her child’s second birthday.
The 1,000 days period is the crucial period of development, when malnutrition can have severe life-long impacts on the individual, the family and society as a whole. Nutritional deficiencies that occur during this time are often overlooked, resulting in a hidden hunger. It is a problem of great human and economic dimensions, impacting rich and poor countries alike.
In The Last Hunger Season, the intimate dramas of the farmers' lives unfold amidst growing awareness that to feed the world's growing population, food production must double by 2050. How will the farmers, Africa, and a hungrier world deal with issues of water usage, land ownership, foreign investment, corruption, GMO's, the changing role of women, and the politics of foreign aid?
Roger Thurow and Scott Kilman, award-winning writers on Africa, development, and agriculture, see famine as the result of bad policies spanning the political spectrum. In this compelling investigative narrative, they explain through vivid human stories how the agricultural revolutions that transformed Asia and Latin America stopped short in Africa, and how our sometimes well-intentioned strategies—alternating with ignorance and neglect—have conspired to keep the world’s poorest people hungry and unable to feed themselves.