This week, PATH is co-hosting a symposium – along with the Vietnamese Ministry of Health and Vietnam’s National Pediatric Hospital – on the importance of taking an integrated approach to defeating diarrheal disease.
The gathering will bring together health professionals from around the Mekong Delta region.
Bread for the World Institute has just released its 2011 Hunger Report, Our Common Interest: Ending Hunger and Malnutrition.
The report is available in print and online for free at www.hungerreport.org. This is the 21st edition of the Institute’s annual Hunger Report.
In the village of Kamusinga, Kenya, parents learn about basic diarrheal disease prevention strategies from a community health volunteer.
Memories of my stay in the bustling border town of Busia, Kenya, fill me with optimism. Last October, I journeyed to Kenya to document PATH’s exciting work and to explore ways to inspire people in the field to be advocates for child health. I saw doctors being trained in new diarrhea treatment protocol, mothers educated on basic prevention, and an increasing number of fathers committed to participating in the health of their children. But what I think about most often is my introduction to a little girl who shares my name, just before she came into the world.
It’s been a year since defeatDD was born. Back then, I blogged about how diarrhea was often a joke at the party, but less often a serious contender for action in the world of global health. Over the past year, I’ve started to think maybe I was wrong, at least a little bit. Thanks to our cadre of generous bloggers, we’ve learned a lot here at defeatDD about the great work that is going on around the world in order to, well, cut the crap.
How can we make an impact on child health in far-away countries for those of us who are working from our desks in the US?
We think this is an incredibly important question, and so do our Facebook friends. In fact, when we recently interviewed Alfred Ochola, our DD program implementer in Western Kenya, one of you asked Alfred for his thoughts on the matter. Here’s what he had to say:
This question is fundamental to child survival and therefore needs more than a one-line answer or solution. The following points may help:
Overwhelming evidence points to undeniable benefits of breastmilk in curbing diarrhea illness and death, yet breastfeeding rates in some of the world’s poorest countries remain staggeringly low. Only a third of mothers in the developing world exclusively breastfeed in the most vulnerable first six months of their infants’ lives, and in the second six months , breastmilk is part of the diet of only half of babies. It’s elemental—yet woefully underused. Perhaps its benefits are still not understood.
Call it what you will: joining up or combining interventions, integration or disaggregation. Whatever you call it, it is essential to achieving the Millennium Development Goals and to alleviating poverty and disease.
The 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s 2nd birthday represent a critical but short window of time to ensure a child’s future health and prosperity. Children who are well-nourished during this critical window reap a lifetime of benefits for themselves and their communities. The nutrition that a mother and her baby receive during these 1,000 days has a profound impact on a child’s ability to grow, learn and rise out of poverty.
Summer 2006, rural China: My colleagues and I take a bathroom break at a rest stop on the side of the road on our way to a health clinic. Unlike many female restrooms around the world, there isn’t a long line of patrons waiting to use the holes in the ground separated by slabs of cement. I walk over to one of the farthest holes in the room and, my colleague stands in front of my “stall” as a human door. Other patrons giggle at how shy we are using the makeshift toilets.
At USAID's "Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday" briefing, USAID Administrator Raj Shah proudly displays a photo of one of his little ones, who had just graduated from her play group.
I’ve always had a soft spot for revolutionary people and ideas, so it’s not surprising that my favorite part of USAID’s Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday briefing was a nod to the work of Jim Grant (Executive Director of UNICEF from 1980-1995) and his commitment to child health that saved countless lives. It reminded me that child health efforts in which I play a small role tell a story that’s been decades in the making.