March / April  2006





March/April Contents 

 Real Issues
 Malnourishment in
 South Asia


 South Asian issues
 Getting to know the
 past better



 News from elsewhere
 New animal species
 found in Indonesia

 Veggie chemical
 repairs DNA damage


 Bhera - the town that
 time forgot
- Part II

 World Bank in
 South Asia
 Grant to Afghanistan

Land management in

Urban services in


 Tollinton Market



 South Asian


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Malnourished Children in South Asia
Courtesy World Bank


South Asia has the largest number of malnourished children in the world.

Malnutrition rates in several South Asian countries are much higher than those in Africa.

Under-nutrition prevalence rates for India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan range between 38% to 51%. Prevalence rates in Sub-Saharan African countries are about 26%.

Economic Costs
Malnutrition undermines economic growth and economic costs are substantial. Individuals lose more than 10% of lifetime earnings because of malnutrition. A country can lose up to 3% of GDP per year.

What is Under-nutrition?
Undernutrition is more than just access to food.

Many children are underweight or stunted because of inappropriate infant feeding and care practices, poor access to health services or poor sanitation.

Under-nutrition's most damaging effect occurs during pregnancy and in the first two years of life. The effects of this early damage on health, brain development, intelligence and educability, and productivity are largely irreversible.

Why Under-nutrition persists?

Pregnant and nursing women eat too few calories and too little protein, have untreated infections, such as sexually transmitted diseases that lead to low birthweight, or do not get enough rest.

Mothers have too little time to take care of their young children or themselves during pregnancy.

Mothers of newborns discard their first breast milk known as ‘colostrum’ which strengthens the child’s immune system.

Mothers often feed children under the age of six months foods other than breast milk even though exclusive breastfeeding is the best source of nutrients and the best protection against many infectious and chronic diseases.

Nutrition programs have been low priority for both governments and development partners for three reasons:

There is little demand for nutrition services from communities because malnutrition is often invisible.
People are unawareness that moderate and mild malnutrition contributes to death, disease and low intelligence.
Malnourished families tend to be poor and not have much voice





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