Malnutrition and its Effects on Ethiopia’s children

Michael Wines writes of the effects of
malnutrition on African children with a detailed look at Ethiopia.

Malnutrition threatens the ability of Ethiopia to move into the developed world according to an impressive article by Michael Wines in The New York Times. Wines documents the toll on Ethiopia’s children, not only those who die but also those who survive but are stunted physically and mentally. Wines reports on the damage malnutrition does to their bodies and brains. He writes that almost half of Ethiopia’s children are malnourished and those who survive may lose as much as 15 I.Q. points.

It’s a report that presents both a bleak picture of current reality but hope for the accomplishments of nutrition centers and government action. Governments are beginning to add nutrients to flour and vitamins to other foods, practices that have been required by the U.S. government since the 30s, Wines reports. These efforts are showing positive results, but don’t reach all the children due to the slowness of governments to institute nutrition policies and the limited scope of the programs operating now.

Wines offers further evidence that health specialists know how to attack deadly problems such as malnutrition and how to prevent them. But this requires a commitment from governments and international organizations to make it happen.

This is a place where the voices of concerned people can make a difference. Malnutrition is a direct result of poverty. It occurs within a complex that includes failed agricultural practices, lack of knowledge and depressed economic possibilities in poor communities. The National Council of Churches has produced an excellent study guide with suggestions about what we can do individually and as churches.

And, contrary to the belief of some, the problem is not beyond solution. Dr. Jeffrey Sachs, economist and special advisor to the Secretary General of the United Nations says, “Total annual U.S. aid for all of Africa is about $3 billion, equivalent to about two days of Pentagon spending.”

He also points to the level of our support compared to other developed nations. “While the United States is still the single largest donor, giving about a quarter of the total, it is next to last in the share of national income it gives – 16 cents of each $100. On average, major European nations give more than twice as much – 36 cents of each $100. And they plan to raise that level to 51 cents of $100 by 2010.”

There is much to be done. And there is much we can do.

2 Responses to “Malnutrition and its Effects on Ethiopia’s children”

  1. NURI ADEM November 24, 2008 at 1:33 am #


  2. dr mehamed besher June 14, 2009 at 8:41 am #

    malnutrition have brode impact on hummanity related to its ifect on depretion we can eradicate famen one of cause of malnutrition by sharing our resoure to any poor people .

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