Economic growth not enough to tackle hunger

Jul 14, 2006 | Posted by Scott Hughes, author of Achieve Your Dreams | Post a Comment

By Laura MacInnis

GENEVA (Reuters) – Hunger kills more people than AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined, and keeps millions of children out of school, the United Nations said on Thursday.

The U.N. World Food Programme, which provides food aid to about 90 million people every year, estimated that 25,000 people die each day from malnutrition-related diseases.

“The number of hungry people is rising at a rate of 4 to 5 million a year, despite a marked reduction in poverty,” Sheila Sisulu, the WFP’s deputy executive director, told a news conference at the U.N. European headquarters in Geneva.

Humanitarian crises account for about 10 percent of hunger suffered worldwide, and the rest suffer “silent emergencies” of chronic undernutrition and ill-health that have persisted despite a broad economic upswing in past years, Sisulu said.

“There needs to be a very targeted effort to address issues of hunger and malnutrition,” she said.

In a report on the links between malnutrition and education, WFP said one third of the 300 million children worldwide who go to bed hungry on a regular basis are not attending school.

“Even if they do manage to go to school, undernourished children are unable to concentrate on their lessons,” the report said, urging school feeding programmes and other measures to improve students’ prospects — particularly in poor areas.

“The meal acts as an incentive to attend, leading to increased school enrolment, particularly for girls, in places where hunger and undernutrition are problems,” it said.

The report urged nutrition and health training, better access to deworming programmes in affected areas, particularly Africa, and efforts to educate women and families about the importance of good early childhood nutrition.

Paul Howe, a WFP policy adviser involved in the production of the report, said it was essential that governments introduce specific programmes to curb chronic hunger and malnutrition, which can act as a drag on overall development.

“Economic growth on its own is not enough to eliminate problems of under-nutrition. You really do, in addition to that, need some targeted interventions,” he said.

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About Scott Hughes

I am the author of Achieve Your Dreams. I also published the book Holding Fire: Short Stories of Self-Destruction. I have two kids who I love so much. I just want to be a good role model for them. I hope what I do here makes them proud of me. Please let me know you think about the post by leaving a comment below!

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