World Health Organization
Infant and child nutrition
Every year, more than 3.1 million children under the age of 5 worldwide die from malnutrition-related causes. Hunger and under nutrition contributes to more than half of global child deaths. Malnourished children are more susceptible to illness and experience more learning difficulties. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that in 2018, “globally there were 149 million children under 5 year of age were stunted, 49 million wasted and 40 million overweight.” In addition, 20.5 million babies suffer from low birthrate. In response to the worldwide malnourished child epidemic, WHO launched a Decade of Action on Nutrition starting in 2016. This includes, implementation of specific programs and increased investments to eliminate malnutrition. Also the stress of breastfeeding during infancy, which has proven to build a child’s immune system. Although this is a strong effort to combat malnutrition, there continues to be a catastrophic problem because of the underlying problem of poverty, there needs to be more done today.
In 2016, France launched a multi-sector road map on nutrition. Drafted in collaboration by Interministerial Group on Food and Security (GISA) and a multi-stakeholder and multi-sector platform on food security and nutrition, it is a developmental strategy to help pursue five areas of action for child nutrition. The five main goals are integrating nutrition into programs, helping target countries to address nutrition in policies, increasing international and European mobilization for nutrition, contributing to research and improving knowledge about nutrition, and helping to educate and raise awareness about nutrition. The road map focuses on eight countries that are severely affected by malnutrition: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Laos, Madagascar, Mali, and Niger. France is very engaged in the fight against malnutrition. In 2011, France also issued a policy framework paper on nutrition in developing countries. It set two priority objectives. The first being, to detect, prevent and treat malnutrition in women of childbearing age and children. Secondly, to increase the efficacy of international action to eradicate malnutrition. This paper remains relevant when it comes to France’s current nutrition action.
The country of France wishes for more preventative steps to be taken and addressed, as has been done in France. The infants and children of the world are the future. They do not deserve to be at a disadvantage in life from the beginning because of a factor they can not personally control. It is time for the world to step up and help aid these children and families in need. France hopes to see solutions involving the implementation of specific programs or NGOs containing doctors and nutrition specialist, and send them to regions most heavily affected. Healthy habits and lifestyles should also be strongly promoted.
- Blaise Gourley