Monday, 1 November 2010

Starved for Attention

A friend of mine, Dr. Umang Sharma, brought this great campaign to my attention... thanks Umang!

This year, an astonishing 195 million children worldwide will suffer from the effects of malnutrition; 90% of them live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Malnutrition contributes to at least 1/3 of the 8 million annual deaths of children under 5 years of age.

According to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), without essential nutrients 9 children will continue to die every minute of causes related to malnutrition.

MSF, along with the VII Photo agency, launched “Starved for Attention” in June, a global multimedia campaign presenting a unique and new perspective of childhood malnutrition.
Through a seven-part mini-documentary series that seamlessly blends photography and video, the campaign aims to rewrite the story of malnutrition.

Photojournalists traveled to malnutrition “hotspots” around the world - including India, Bangladesh, Mexico, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States - to shed light on the underlying causes of the malnutrition crisis and innovative approaches to combat this condition.

Currently, international donors - in particularly those making the largest humanitarian contributions to food assistance projects - are currently providing substandard foods like cereal-based fortified flours. While these foods can relieve hunger, they don't meet basic nutritional standards for infants and young children, a reality highlighted by the fact that none of these cereals are used in nutrition programs in the donors' own countries.

To end this double standard, you can sign the petition “Overcoming Childhood Malnutrition: The Time to Act is Now” on

The time to act is now.


Lauren Slayton said...

Wow, thanks for the wake up call. It makes me cringe that I spend my days helping people eat right for a marathon or have proper snacks at work as people/children live without food. I wonder if RDs are of use on these journeys, I'd love to do more than sign a petiiton, have you heard of this? Thanks for the wake up call.

Sybil Hebert, RD said...

Thanks for your comment Lauren!
RDs are definitely of use for these organizations.
Doctors Without Borders in Canada list RDs - with a min of 2 years - as medical staff they're looking for. You need to be available on short notice and able to work for 6-12 months.
If you live in the US, the organization is unfortunately not recruiting RDs now.
That said, when you travel you can always seek out hospitals or clinics etc. that may need some help. I went to Guatemala last year and volunteered in a centre of malnourished children... it was a great experience...
Keep me posted on what you decide to do!

Anonymous said...

I volunteered in Tanzania with a Canadian organization called Terres sans Frontieres (earth without borders). their head office is in Montreal but they have offices internationally. Even if you're American, you can contact them and they may be able to help you.
Good luck!