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      Malnutrition in Sub – Saharan Africa: burden, causes and prospects

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          Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths, although it is rarely listed as the direct cause. Contributing to more than half of deaths in children worldwide; child malnutrition was associated with 54% of deaths in children in developing countries in 2001. Poverty remains the major contributor to this ill. The vicious cycle of poverty, disease and illness aggravates this situation. Grooming undernourished children causes children to start life at mentally sub optimal levels. This becomes a serious developmental threat. Lack of education especially amongst women disadvantages children, especially as far as healthy practices like breastfeeding and child healthy foods are concerned. Adverse climatic conditions have also played significant roles like droughts, poor soils and deforestation. Sociocultural barriers are major hindrances in some communities, with female children usually being the most affected. Corruption and lack of government interest and investment are key players that must be addressed to solve this problem. A multisectorial approach is vital in tackling this problem. Improvement in government policy, fight against corruption, adopting a horizontal approach in implementing programmes at community level must be recognized. Genetically modified foods to increase food production and to survive adverse climatic conditions could be gateways in solving these problems. Socio cultural peculiarities of each community are an essential base line consideration for the implementation of any nutrition health promotion programs.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Assessment of the safety of foods derived from genetically modified (GM) crops.

          This paper provides guidance on how to assess the safety of foods derived from genetically modified crops (GM crops); it summarises conclusions and recommendations of Working Group 1 of the ENTRANSFOOD project. The paper provides an approach for adapting the test strategy to the characteristics of the modified crop and the introduced trait, and assessing potential unintended effects from the genetic modification. The proposed approach to safety assessment starts with the comparison of the new GM crop with a traditional counterpart that is generally accepted as safe based on a history of human food use (the concept of substantial equivalence). This case-focused approach ensures that foods derived from GM crops that have passed this extensive test-regime are as safe and nutritious as currently consumed plant-derived foods. The approach is suitable for current and future GM crops with more complex modifications. First, the paper reviews test methods developed for the risk assessment of chemicals, including food additives and pesticides, discussing which of these methods are suitable for the assessment of recombinant proteins and whole foods. Second, the paper presents a systematic approach to combine test methods for the safety assessment of foods derived from a specific GM crop. Third, the paper provides an overview on developments in this area that may prove of use in the safety assessment of GM crops, and recommendations for research priorities. It is concluded that the combination of existing test methods provides a sound test-regime to assess the safety of GM crops. Advances in our understanding of molecular biology, biochemistry, and nutrition may in future allow further improvement of test methods that will over time render the safety assessment of foods even more effective and informative. Copryright 2004 Elsevier Ltd.
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            The state of food insecurity in the world

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              Gender inequality and severe malnutrition among children in a remote rural area of Bangladesh.

              Bangladesh typifies many south-eastern countries where female children experience inferior health and uncertain survival, especially after the neonatal period. This paper attempts to study the gender inequality in nutritional status and the effects of various socioeconomic, demographic, and health-programme factors on gender inequality in a remote rural area of Bangladesh. Measurements of mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) were taken from 2,016 children aged less than 5 years (50.8% male, 49.2% female) in 1994. Children were characterized as severely malnourished if MUAC was < 125 mm. Independent variables included various characteristics of children, households, and mothers. Average MUAC for all children was 130 mm; 33% were severely malnourished. Of the severely-malnourished children, 54.2% were female, and 45.8% were male. The gender gap persisted in the multivariate situation, with female 1.44 times more likely to be severely malnourished. Other variables with a statistically significant relationship included the age of children, acceptance of DPT1, and education of household heads. The persistence of such a gender discrimination now when the country has achieved a lot in terms of child survival is striking. The issue is important and demands appropriate corrective actions.

                Author and article information

                Pan Afr Med J
                Pan Afr Med J
                The Pan African Medical Journal
                The African Field Epidemiology Network
                06 August 2013
                : 15
                [1 ]Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel - Centre for Population Studies and Health Promotion, CPSHP, BP 7535, Yaoundé, Cameroon
                [2 ]Faculty of Arts, Letters and Social Sciences, FALSS, University of Yaoundé I, Cameroon
                [3 ]Faculty of Science, University of Dschang, Cameroon
                [4 ]Awing District Hospital, Santa Health District, Bamenda, Cameroon
                [5 ]Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Buea, Cameroon
                Author notes
                [& ]Corresponding author: Luchuo Engelbert Bain, Braun School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and the Centre for Population Studies and Health Promotion, CPSHP, BP 7535, Yaoundé, Cameroon
                © Luchuo Engelbert Bain et al.

                The Pan African Medical Journal - ISSN 1937-8688. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



                malnutrition, sub–saharan africa, corruption, multisectorial approach


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