On May 19, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon set out on a trip to visit Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ethiopia and France as part of the “Every Woman, Every Child” global health effort launched last September, which focuses primarily on maternal and child health.
During his time in Nigeria, Mr. Ban announced the release of a plan for implementing nutritional guidelines, interventions, and policies to improve maternal and child health around the globe. The plan will be included in a World Health Organization report entitled “Maternal, infant and young child nutrition: implementation plan.” As reported by the U.N. News Centre, the plan outlines key priorities, including malnutrition, low birth weight, growing rates of childhood obesity, maternal obesity and specific nutrient deficiencies.
It’s an important issue, as nutritional problems plague mothers and children all over the world, from developed countries like the U.S. to developing countries like Nigeria. I’ll be very interested to see this report and how it addresses diverse nutritional issues and potential solutions.
For example, how do you tackle the problem of mothers and children living in extreme poverty in the developing world versus poor families living in the U.S.? In places like Nigeria, the problem may be that women and children have limited access to food, leading to malnourishment and developmental problems in children. But in the U.S., the problem may be that the food that is available to low income families is very poor in quality — high in fat, salts and sugar — leading to problems like childhood obesity.
Either way, nutrition is a key issue when it comes to improving the health of women and children, and beyond that, the health of society as a whole. We’ll be sure to put out more information on the report as it becomes available to the public, but in the meantime, feel free to check out some of these reports online.