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How the Generation Nutrition campaign is working to end child deaths from acute malnutrition…

 

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Malnutrition and Malaria: A Deadly Combination

This blog originated from RESULTS UK. Click here for the original blog post.

 

Today marks World Malaria Day and the week of the launch of a new global campaign – Generation Nutrition. Sabrina de Souza, Nutrition Advocacy Assistant, talks about the deadly synergy between these two child killers.

 

Child with malaria and malnutrition in Niger. Photo: Juan Carlos Tomasi

Child with malaria and malnutrition in Niger. Photo: Juan Carlos Tomasi

Malnutrition and malaria – on their own they are two of the leading causes of child death in the world. In 2012 alone, malaria was responsible for 627,000 child deaths, while acute malnutrition is responsible for 1 million child deaths each year. Together they make a deadly combination.

In many countries the period of the hunger gap, when acute malnutrition is at its peak, coincides with the rainy season, when mosquitoes breed and the number of malaria cases shoots up.

It’s a vicious circle. Malaria leaves a person vulnerable to malnutrition, and malnutrition leaves them vulnerable to malaria. And of course a person’s nutritional status affects how they recover from infection; so malnutrition both raises the risk of contracting a disease such as malaria and worsens its outcome, which in turn leaves the patient exhausted, deprived of nourishment, and vulnerable to infection.

Read more…

For a special little boy

This isn’t the first time I will have fundraised for a charity. But this time the cause is very close to my heart.

Next month I am taking part in a 10k run for a very special little boy. Isaac was only four years old when diagnosed with lymphoma last year. This amazing charity was there right from the start – supporting him and his family through a very difficult time, and will continue to support them on this three year journey.

This amazing little boy – with a smile that can melt your heart – has inspired me with his bravery.

I hope that you will support this amazing charity for Isaac and the numerous other children and young people CLIC Sargent support.

To donate please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/account/your-pages/Sabrina-de-Souza

I. Can’t. Run

Anyone who knows me knows I hate running / am awful at it… and am a general liability on my feet… so of course in a moment I can only refer to as PURE MADNESS I signed myself up for the Richmond Spring Riverside 10k Run! Why? For charity of course.

Why I don’t run…

There are a number of reasons I don’t run.

I’m lazy. There’s no two ways about it. I. Am. Lazy. If I was offered the choice I would always opt for the tube or the bus over the alternative… walking. Don’t even get me started on running. The only time I will run is if I am late for work and will miss the train. I’m ashamed to say it happens more often than not… I’m even more ashamed to say that after barely 200m I will be panting and out of breath. So I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty damn awful at running. Anyone who knows me can corroborate.

I’m clumsy. I have two left feet. Forget running… I have enough trouble walking without tripping over the pavement or – more often than not – my own two feet. As you can imagine… this also means I’m an absolutely horrendous dancer. Again… anyone who knows me can corroborate.

I’m self conscious. What I mean by that is… I run funny. At least I’m convinced I do. I’m convinced my running is similar to that of Miss Phoebe Buffay from FRIENDS. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, please see the video below…

Why I am running…

I wanted to challenge myself. I think it’s fair to say this will probably be my most challenging fundraising activity I’ve ever attempted. I have never ran a race in my life. I would more likely starve myself for charity (I have in fact done that a few times for the Live Below the Line campaign). But I’ve never ran before.

So while 10k may not seem like much compared to a full marathon (which is over 4 times the distance I will be running) I know this will be a massive challenge for me.

Who I’m raising money for…

I decided to raise money for a charity called CLIC Sargent after a family I know found out their son had cancer. CLIC Sargent were amazing. They were there right from the start and have provided amazing support to the entire family, especially the parents.

CLIC Sargent is UK based cancer charity that supports children and young people, and families affected by cancer. They provide amazing support, both practically and emotionally, for families to help them cope with cancer and get the most out of life. This includes organising exciting trips to places like Legoland! As well supporting families to alleviate the financial burden by helping them apply for things like caregiver allowance.

If you would like to support my efforts as I run for this amazing charity please visit my JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Sabrina-de-Souza

Huff Po: “Shit Matters: Improving Access to Water Is Key to Child Survival”

Sabrina de Souza

by Nutrition Advocacy Assistant, and Megan Wilson-Jones, Health Advocacy Officer at RESULTS UK

Thursday morning

7.00am
Alarm goes off… snooze

7.18am
Alarm goes off for the second time… probably time to get up

7.20am
Use toilet

7.21am
Flush toilet

7.22am
Wash hands

7.25am
Turn shower on… water is freezing! Wait for water to warm up… hop back in the shower… ahh… lovely and warm…

7.36am
Brush teeth… rinse sink

7.38am
Hair… check… make-up… check… outfit… check

7.53am
Still feeling very sleepy… fill kettle… boil kettle… let coffee brew on side

7.55am
Just spotted dirty dishes piling up in the sink… quickly stack in the dishwasher

7.58am
Find George drinking coffee I had prepared for myself… argh… fill kettle… boil kettle… keep a close eye on coffee, and George, this time

8.02am
About to walk out the door when I remember the outfit I need for this evening is still in the laundry basket… quickly fill washing machine while downing coffee… ouch… burnt my tongue!

8.06am
Look at watch… panic… only 9 minutes till I have to catch the train… and it’s a 15 minute walk… run out the door

In just over an hour I have already used quite a significant amount of water. These early morning tasks are very much part of my daily routine that I rarely stop to appreciate how much I rely on water.

ImageWhen I brought this up with my colleague Megan, the office serial tea-maker, we pondered for a while about how much water we actually use. It’s something we use so unconsciously, that when we actually sat down to think about it, it was really difficult to remember all the times in the day we had used water for some task or another. So, we decided to challenge ourselves. The following Monday we tallied every single time we poured ourselves a glass of water, washed up a plate, flushed a toilet… essentially any task that required us to use water and at the end of the day compared our scores.

From the time I woke up to the time I went to bed I had already used water 29 times that day. To think if I use water 29 times on an average day, that’s 203 times a week, 870 times a month and 10,556 times a year. For Megan, who had used water 44 times in a day, that would work out to 16,061 times in a year. When you think of it like that it’s pretty shocking. Especially when you think that less than 1% of the world’s water is fresh water, which we use for drinking, cooking washing, agriculture and industry (97% is salt water and 2% is ice and snow). Furthermore due to pollution and contamination a further two-thirds of that is unusable.

Life without access to water

How different would my mornings, my life for that matter, be if I didn’t have such easy access to clean water and sanitation?

282277_10150245944556656_5755113_nOn a visit to Tanzania I was quite astonished about how early my neighbours would rise in the morning, sometimes as early as 5am. I later realised it was because there was no fresh water available in the vicinity, at least not for a few miles. Every other morning my neighbour would travel over half an hour, with a buggy full of water butts, to the closest water pump. She told me that the task of collecting water could take up to two or three hours. Sometimes she would spend up to an hour just waiting her turn to access the pump. Other times she would find the pump was not working and would have to travel to the neighbouring village to use their next pump. By the time she had filled up with water, the buggy was so heavy that it could take twice as long to get home. It’s perhaps not surprising that women are estimated to spend 200 million hours a day collecting water.

While this may seem like an excessive amount of time to spend collecting water, for many it is the choice of a few hours travel or risk the dirty water that could kill their children. In fact, millions more people are completely without that choice. 783 million people are still without access to improved sources of drinking water and a further 2.5 billion people are still living without even basic sanitation. A lack of access to water and sanitation does not only have practical implications for day-to-day life, but can have significant health implications too…

Read the full article at: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/sabrina-de-souza/shit-matters-improving-ac_b_3949001.html

Huff Po: ‘Enabling Mothers to Breastfeed: Key to Reducing Undernutrition’

“When I first travelled to Tanzania as a research student two years ago, I assumed that breastfeeding was the common practice among new mothers. This was only my second trip to Africa and I didn’t have to travel far to find posters promoting breastfeeding. Within the first hour of arriving in Himo I had already seen two mothers breastfeeding their newborn babies. So I was shocked to find out that less than 50% of children in Tanzania are breastfed exclusively for the first six months. Globally, the figures are worse. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) exclusive breastfeeding rates have stagnated, with less than 40% of infants under six months of age being exclusively breastfed.

Along with having low rates for exclusive breastfeeding Tanzania has some of the highest rates of child undernutrition in the world, with 42% of children under the age of five suffering from stunted growth. I was shocked to find out one of the small girls called Zai, who had brought me passion fruits every day, was seven years old. By looking at her I thought she could be no more than five. It was only later one of the neighbours told me that as an infant she suffered with frequent bouts of diarrhoea and became quite malnourished. She suspects this was because, at the time, the family did not have access to safe clean drinking water.

Breastfeeding is one key intervention, identified by the Lancet, which can help prevent children from becoming malnourished. It can help to protect children from killer diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea, which can also exacerbate malnutrition further. New research suggest that infants who are not breastfed are 15 times more likely to die from pneumonia and 11 times more like to die of diarrhoea than those who are exclusively breastfed.

Despite it being a free and natural way to protect a newborn baby, sub-optimal breastfeeding practices are responsible for approximately 804,000 child deaths each year. This is largely due to too little attention is being paid to help mums breastfeed.

It is not simply enough to tell mothers to ‘breastfeed’ if we are not providing them with an enabling environment for them to do so. We need to make sure mothers, especially mother who are struggling with breastfeeding, are given adequate support, education and accessibility.”

Read the full article on the Huffington Post.

‘Nutrition for Growth Pledges: A great start but more is needed’

“It was a fantastic achievement. For decades we have known about the devastating impacts of hunger and undernutrition, yet for the first time in history leaders from all over the world united specifically around nutrition. With the commitments made [at the Nutrition for Growth event] we now have the potential to save 1.7 million lives from now until 2020. That’s a spectacular 625 children’s lives saved each day…

While we should be pleased with what we have achieved – it was not small feat – we should not become complacent. This is just the beginning and there is still work to be done, some questions that need answering, and some areas that require a bit more fleshing out…

So my first question is… how big of a dent have we made in the nutrition financing?”

Read the full blog by me on the RESULTS UK website: http://blog.results.org.uk/2013/06/13/nutrition-for-growth-pledges-a-great-start-but-more-needed/