The Importance of Adequate Nutrition and the Lawra Nutrition Center

In our Summer Newsletter we announced that the construction of the Lawra Nutrition Center is finally complete! We are hoping to schedule an official opening ceremony for the center in September, but I spoke with Dr. Sandaare, the medical director at the Lawra District Hospital, on Monday and they are hoping to begin treating patients within the next two weeks. The importance of the nutrition center in treating and preventing malnutrition in children was strongly reinforced in a recent article published in the Lancet. The study found that the first 1,000 days in a child's life (from birth until age 3) are extremely important to the child's future health but also tied to the nation's economic development. Robert Black, who is a Professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and who led the research in this study, said:

'"This series strengthens the evidence that a nation's economic advancement is tied to the first 1,000 days of every child's life. Malnutrition can haunt children for the rest of their lives. Undernourished children are more susceptible to infectious diseases and achieve less education and have lower cognitive abilities. As a result, undernutrition can significantly impede a country's economic growth."'

The United Nations produced a report that cited malnutrition as costing the global economy  3.5 trillion dollars.  In 2011 more than 200 million children were affected by severe malnutrition and an estimated 5 million children are at risk of developing permanent health problems due to malnutrition over the next 15 years.

A study in Niger showed a decrease of 50% in child mortality after children were fed highly nutritious supplemental food. By scaling up ten proven interventions, such as the provision of therapeutic food,  researchers estimate we can save over 900,000 lives.

"Proper nutrition is essential for healthy development and encouraging, educating and providing people with healthy food is key for addressing global malnutrition," which is why we are so thrilled that the Lawra Nutrition Center will begin treating patients so soon.

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