Malnutrition worse in Guatemala than in Africa

A recent article, from the Prensa Libre newspaper (translated below into English), states that malnutrition in Guatemala is worse than Africa. Pretty hard to look away. Miracles in Action supports numerous nutrition programs in Guatemala. This article reinforces our need to continue and increase these efforts.

Translated article:

Suffering from chronic hunger are Guatemalans, but especially children from various regions of the country. This is the result of the interaction of a series of political, economic and social issues affecting negatively the availability, access, consumption and biological utilization of food. And the most important factor is political. According to the comparison made by UNICEF in the “State of the World’s Children 2010,” Guatemala is held in third place for global chronic malnutrition. This competes with another country called East Timor, in Southeast Asia, both reported that for their national average, 54 out of every hundred children suffer from stunting. In the world only Afghanistan and Yemen are worse than Guatelmala. Not even Africa is worse. Guatemala is Africa, or worse. And so at national level.  If we get the percentages in rural areas or in many municipalities, the figure rises to eight out of 10 children with chronic hunger.

Silent killer: Chronic malnutrition is the second largest problem in this country, behind the violence and drug trafficking. Hunger kills more than bullets, but silently. The reason for these figures has historical roots. Chronic malnutrition, considered as a low height for age is the result of many factors, but its root causes are the unequal opportunities, exclusion and discrimination based on sex, race or political belief. A child at 36 months of age should be measured 88 centimeters, otherwise, it is a chronically malnourished, and lost centimeter never recovered. His IQ has also suffered a permanent impairment. The intellect of an entire country is riddled with malnutrition. The other malnutrition, acute malnutrition is caused by a recent lack of food or a disease that has caused a rapid loss of weight. This type of malnutrition is recoverable, however,not be served on time, puts you at high risk for one’s life.

DISCONTINUED EFFORT: A historic milestone for the comprehensive approach improves the country’s food situation occurred with the adoption of the Law of the National Food and Nutrition Security (Sinasos) in 2005. But a law alone can not eradicate hunger by decree; we need people who operationalize. This development policy scenarios required interagency coordination and participation, that after six years could even get to work as expected. Worse,in the last four years the current government has been a marked weakening. Presidential programs generated parallel Sinasos bodies, almost disappear at the end of their terms. And is that despite the enormous scourge of hunger in Guatemala has not yet set an agenda with state vision. Governments do not want good technical ministries, political operators prefer to follow orders. Every four years the incoming government with treachery delete previous actions. With no clear plan to improve the situation. The worst thing is that the problem of hunger is even invisible to the families affected by malnutrition. It’s so big, so common that it seems part of daily life. The human right to food is grossly violated, and society does not require a change. If politicians do not get the social pressure to generate a fight against malnutrition, the policy will continue as at present, almost nonexistent.

Relegated PRIORITY: In the next electoral contest already thrown the cards, the popular clamor calls security, food security is not listed in priority actions. The issue will again be marginal, the agenda that will score points generated elsewhere. There will be more deaths from hunger this election year and will be named human dramas. Between sidewalks and bushes will drown the last gasp of a country that is corrupt in his intellect and spirit, because malnutrition corroded the most precious of their future: their children, and therefore hope. Therefore it is necessary that political parties in contention frame their programs of government in the structure, organs and mechanisms already established in the Sinasos, as it should be a specific program designed at various stages of at least 20 years, with progressive measurable goals, focused on the causes and effects simultaneously. This course requires a champion, a man or a woman willing to go down in history. The significance awaits him or her. It must secure financing plans and programs, establishing a monitoring and implementation of public spending program in food safety. It should strengthen or create a coaching staff that not only implement, but will manage the process in the life of the food programs. Food security of this country should not be subject to the sway of political spoils. At the municipal level should allocate funds to invest in food and nutrition security, should clearly know the vulnerable areas and know what they are as they are, to raise from local solutions. The Government is talking about tax reform, but does not include nutritional food item as an argument. That is, the current government and political parties in the elections of 2011 seem to have forgotten that we are the land of the hungry. Guatemala is worse than Africa.

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