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Malnutrition - Case Study Example

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INTRODUCTION Malnutrition affects different societies to proportions inflicting most of its members. The main issue is poor allocation of resources. Frozen food products are preferred over more nutritious organic food. Several third world countries rather spend on armaments rather than nutrition…
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INTRODUCTION Malnutrition affects different societies to proportions inflicting most of its members. The main issue is poor allocation of resources.Frozen food products are preferred over more nutritious organic food. Several third world countries rather spend on armaments rather than nutrition. Malnutrition translates to poor health. Health issues are needed to be addressed before any other aspects of society such as education and labor because it stunts the intellectual and physical capacity of the population. It causes a society not to progress, or even regress. With increasing globalization, such events in a country will certainly affect other countries as well. DISEASE ECOLOGY OF MALNUTRITION The presence of malnutrition has been recognized in a number of countries around the world. Because of these countries’ differences, both geographically and culturally, the events that lead to the occurrence of such health issue are different among states. In this study, the disease ecology of malnutrition in Haiti and Peru are explored. Malnutrition in Peru In a country wherein the population is stratified based economic status, rural indigenous children are most affected by the inefficiency of the government to provide the basic needs of its constituents. As of January 2011, 18% of Peru’s population is inflicted with chronic malnutrition. Much affected of this condition are children. If the overall rate of malnutrition is 1 out of 7, the rate of malnutrition in indigenous communities is 1 out of 2. In each of the four Peruvian regions, Huancavelica, Apurimac, Ancash, and Cuzco, that depend on mining as a source of living, the number of malnourished indigenous children under five years is at least 45%. Huancavelica and Apurimac were not able to solicit revenues from the canon minero tax, and thus their respective local governments were unable to provide food for their constituents. More alarming is the situation in Cuzco, wherein, over the years, the numbers show minimal improvement despite increased revenues from the mining companies. The problem, as recognized by Angel Paez in his article in IPS (2011), is not in the absence of funds, but in the inefficiency of the Peruvian government by which these funds are used. Regional and municipal authorities spend so much on providing food, which is only a part of a solution in combating malnutrition. Malnutrition in Haiti A more serious condition occurs in Haiti, wherein civil unrest and natural disaster happened recently. As much as 75% of Haiti’s population lives in poverty, and that much Haitians are malnourished. In addition, their average daily caloric intake is only 68% of that recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Water contamination is also a problem in the country, as only 40% of the population has access to clean, drinking water (Hanley 2005). Poor agricultural conditions, violence, and political unrest resulting from these disastrous events contribute to the poverty and subsequent undernourishment of the population. In agriculture, the large proportion of population per square area spares little land area per household. To maximize the land, farmers plant crops that correspond to a relatively high cash value. Unfortunately, export crops are too expensive for these farmers to cultivate. In addition, only 20% of Haiti’s land area is suitable for agriculture, farmers cannot produce enough to sell for a profit (Hanley, 2005). In the urban cities, only half of the adults are employed. Because jobs are difficult to find, a number of them end up working for low, even unjust, compensation from foreign manufacturing companies. This scenario continues on as the government prioritizes foreign investor‘s satisfaction more than its constituents’ rights (Hanley, 2005). SOLUTIONS The ways in solving malnutrition do not entail a one-step process, but a series of steps that prevent the occurrence of events that lead to this health issue from happening. First on the list is the regular monitoring of anthropometric parameters, especially among children. Such is needed for the judicious release of nutritional supplements or treatment, allowing the use of resources to be more directed toward those most in need. Children should be the subject of such efforts because they will carry the country in aspects such as economy and politics. One of the important solutions that can be utilized but often ignored is education. Paez (2011) deem it more necessary to focus on improving the dietary and hygienic practices such as teaching sanitation and providing clean water supply rather than on subsidizing food. Women of households also need to be educated on topics such as special nutritional needs of children and the importance of breastfeeding. It is not surprising if most mothers cannot provide adequate nutrition for their children because they also lack the knowledge whether the food they provide is nutritious enough for their children. Pre- and postnatal check-ups should also be provided so that low birth weight and subsequent malnutrition is prevented in the next generation. Finally vaccinations should also be provided, although such is financially taxing. This is important because one of the more immediate effects of malnutrition is poor immunity Malnourished individuals are much more vulnerable to diseases such as diarrhea, measles, and tuberculosis (International Child Care, 2009). BIBLIOGRAPHY Hanley, M (2005). Malnutrition in Haiti: Its Economic Causes and Effects. Available at: http://www.worldfoodprize.org/documents/filelibrary/images/youth_programs/research_papers/2005_papers/CedarRapidsXavierHighSchool_4D735333A8142.pdf Paez, A. (2011) Malnutrition Has an Indigenous Face in Peru. Available at: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=54162 International Child Care (2009) Malnutrition in Haiti. Available at: http://www.internationalchildcare.org/haiti_health_nutrition.php Read More
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