What’s Driving sub-Saharan Africa’s Malnutrition Problem?

Jane Battersby, University of Cape Town

Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest level of food insecurity in the world. An estimated 220 million people lack adequate nutrition. The nature of the problem is shifting rapidly, with overweight status and obesity emerging as new forms of food insecurity while malnutrition persists. But continental policy responses do not address this changing reality.

Food insecurity is the outcome of being too poor to grow or buy food. But it’s not just any food. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation’s definition, people need:

… sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life.

Current policy focuses on alleviating undernutrition through increased production and access to food. It does not focus on the systemic issues that inform the food choices people make. This may result in worsening food insecurity in the region.

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The Status of Nepal: The Course for Moving Forward

It has been three months since the earthquake in Nepal. Over 9,000 people lost their lives and several more were injured.  The latest figures state that over 117,000 people are displaced from their homes and over two million children have been affected. Like many countries at this time, Nepal is in great need of humanitarian assistance and help in rebuilding efforts.  However, disaster relief is a short-term issue. The fate of the country in the long term must be considered by the international community.

Nepal was already listed as one of the poorest countries in the world prior to the earthquake, and moving forward they will not be able to break from their rank anytime soon. However, the country does have the means to be self-sufficient with the right help.

Nepal has many natural resources, particularly minerals like zinc and copper, but they are in limited supply and hard to get to. Agriculture is the largest source of income for the country and employs the most people. Many crops grow in the region but the most popular now are rice and corn. There is great potential for agriculture in the country if they can gain access to newer methods of farming and education.  Agriculture will not only help Nepal feed its people, but boost international trading potential.

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Infographic of the Week: Africa Can Feed Itself

In Bill and Melinda Gates’ Annual Letter that was released this week, they bet that in 15 years Africa will be able to  feed itself. For those of you who have never been to Africa you may think this is an overstretch, but it is entirely true and based on significant data. Most of the people I have met in Africa are smallholder farmers. Africa is … Continue reading Infographic of the Week: Africa Can Feed Itself

5 Global Health Stories We’re Following This Year

2015 will be an interesting year in global health primarily because this is the year when the Millennium Development Goals should ideally be reached. Global health experts admit that many of the goals, for example MDG5, will not be reached globally even though some of them have already been reached on a country level. Ethiopia effectively reached MDG4 along with Bangladesh, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, and Tanzania according to … Continue reading 5 Global Health Stories We’re Following This Year

805 Million People Still Remain Malnourished According to New Report

The State of Food Insecurity in the World report, a collaborative report from Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Program and International Fund for Agricultural Development, was released Tuesday. According to its topline data, there are now 805 million people around the world who are chronically malnourished; that is a steady decline of 100 million people over the last decade. Undernourishment has fallen from 23.4 percent … Continue reading 805 Million People Still Remain Malnourished According to New Report

Logistics Team Visits South Sudan to Assess Road Conditions Amid Looming Famine

Last month, a United Nations team travelled to Western Equitoria,  Central Equatoria, and Western Bahr El Ghazal in South Sudan to assess road conditions, an important task when famine looms in a region that is mostly agrarian. Without passable roads it is impossible for lifesaving, critical health supplies, health workers, aid agencies,  and most importantly food to reach remote areas that are cut off from main city … Continue reading Logistics Team Visits South Sudan to Assess Road Conditions Amid Looming Famine

ONE Calls on African Countries to Commit to Increased Agriculture Funding

One of the things you will hear often when you travel throughout Africa and visit with government officials is the amount of money they have committed to lifesaving programs from HIV/AIDs national programs to malaria, maternal health, and agriculture programs. What is often hidden, however, is whether or not those governments actually come through with their financial commitments. Lip service only goes so far before … Continue reading ONE Calls on African Countries to Commit to Increased Agriculture Funding

Covering Agriculture, Poverty, and Hunger in Tanzania

In nine days I will be traveling to Tanzania as an International Reporting Project (IRP) Fellow to cover agriculture, poverty, and hunger.  As you may recall I also traveled to Zambia this summer to cover infectious diseases as an IRP fellow. This trip promises to be a eye-opener to me as I rarely concentrate on the subject. Typically, my concentration rests on women and girls, maternal … Continue reading Covering Agriculture, Poverty, and Hunger in Tanzania