Friday November 24, 2017

World Food Program: Funding squeeze leaves 40% of Afghans food insecure

Lack of funding from the international community, increased instability and conflicts are some of the major causes for food inacessibility

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A malnourished Afghan child, weighing 14 pounds (6.4 kg) at 18 months of age, is treated by a US Army medical team member in Paktya, Afghanistan. Source: Wikimedia commons

ISLAMABAD, September 2, 2016: The U.N. World Food Program (WFP) has warned that 40 percent of Afghanistan’s population, i.e. 11.3 million people, are food insecure, while more than 40 percent Afghani children under five years of age suffer from chronic malnutrition.

WFP Executive Director Ertharin Cousin issued the warning Friday at the conclusion of her four-day maiden visit to the war-ravaged country, the first by a WFP chief in 13 years, to “implore” the donor community to continue their support despite the squeeze on funding because of new global crises.

“This not the time for the international community to turn away from the needs of the people of Afghanistan,” she told reporters in Kabul.

While WFP has already reached almost two million of the most vulnerable Afghans with food and cash assistance, Cousin said, the organization needs $50 million in donor funding to reach another 1.6 million people through the end of this year.

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source: Wikipedia.org
source: Wikipedia.org

“It is the funding challenges and a turning away of the international community, or reduction in support by the international community for the activities here in Afghanistan, which will limit our ability to perform the work that is required,” Cousin said when asked what was the biggest concern for WFP’s Afghan mission.

She noted that the 3.6 million Afghans who the WFP is trying to help do not include thousands of refugee families who have returned or are in the process of returning home from neighboring Pakistan this year.

“Many of them come across with nothing, without the ability to meet the food assistance needs of their families,” said the WFP head, adding that her organization is working with other partners to meet the needs of returnees.

UN food delivery. Source: Wikipedia.org
UN food delivery. Source: Wikipedia.org

Cousin admitted that increased instability and conflict in some Afghan areas has forced WFP to suspend program operations periodically throughout the year.

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“The answer to terrorism and conflict is hope and opportunity provided by sustainable, durable economic opportunity and prosperity where every parent can access the food that they required to feed their children,” she said.

Afghanistan’s northern provinces are traditionally inaccessible for aid deliveries during winter months, and the spread of fighting to those areas in recent months has added to the challenges facing aid groups. (VOA)

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Thanksgiving Day Across the World

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated across the world and for each country, it has its own tale and tradition around food and days.

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Thanksgiving Day celebrations
Happy Thanksgiving Day, Wikimedia Commons

Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

America
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.

Canada
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.

But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.

Liberia
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.

Netherlands
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.

But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.

Food:
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.

Black Friday:
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.

Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.

Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.

 

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Diseased, Ignored and Suffering Silently : A look into the Health Status of Adivasi Women in Jharkhand

Despite establishment of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in tribal areas, quality healthcare is still a dream for India’s tribal population.

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health status of Adivasi women
One of the poorest and most marginalized communities in India, the tribal population continues to fight extreme levels of health deprivation, with women and children being most vulnerable. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 2, 2017 : In his address to the nation on Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked about his resolve to build a Divya and Bhavya Bharat by creating opportunities for the youth and women and focusing on inclusive development, with safe housing and food security for the poor.

But has Modi ji forgotten about the depleting health status of the people in the south eastern part of the country, particularly the Adivasi populations?

Stemming from a region where people struggle to avail basic necessities how does Modi ji expect the youth to create jobs, when they are not even literate and healthy in the first place?

The health status of Adivasi women and communities in India is in need of special attention. One of the poorest and most marginalized communities in India, the tribal population continues to fight extreme levels of health deprivation, with women and children being most vulnerable.

Health Status of Adivasi Women

Due to rampant poverty, affording fruits and milk for sustenance is an issue affecting the health status of Adivasi women and communities. Additionally, most of the food is served to the male members, who are the bread-earners. As a result, the women have to survive on paani-bhaat (a dish made of stale or leftover rice and water) and saag made from drumstick leaves.

health status of Adivasi women
Health of a man is given more priority than the health of a woman in India’s tribal communities. Wikimedia

With little to no choice to avail other food items, they fail to meet adequate nutritional requirement for their bodies.

According to Archana Kisku, a General Nursing Midwife (GNM) at the Community Health Centre at Dumka district in Jharkhand, even water intake among Adivasi women is lower than what is required which makes them anemic.

“Most of the health centres at the block level in the state do not have blood banks and therefore these women have to be referred somewhere else,” Archana told ANI.

Multiple studies on the maternal health and health status of Adivasi women show poor nutritional status that continues to worsen, along with high rates or morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, tribal states of India record lower utilization of antenatal and postnatal services which can be attributed to illiteracy, monetary reasons, non-availability of services and even deep rooted cultural beliefs.

If you believe these conditions prevail only in Jharkhand, you are wrong. According to a study published in 2016, it was revealed that 80 per cent of the tribal women in Maharashtra’s Melghat area weighed less than 50 kg. ‘Starvation deaths’ continue to affect the health status of Adivasi women, with cases being reported even in advanced states like Kerala.

Thus, it must be realized that malnutrition and anemia are major problems affecting the health status of Adivasi women, irrespective of the area they reside in. However, it must also be noted that the problem is worse in states like Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh.

Health Problems Faced By Adivasi Population

While malnutrition and anemia continue to be the most reported cases, tribal populations are also faced with several endemic infectious diseases like tuberculosis, malaria and diarrhea, resulting in untimely deaths. According to a report published in The Hindu in 2016, the Sahariya tribe of Madhya Pradesh was reported to have the highest rates of tuberculosis in India.

Reasons for Poor Health Status of Adivasi Women

The main factors responsible for deteriorating health conditions of India’s Adivasi population can be attributed to

  • Questionable living conditions
  • ignorance
  • lack of health education and literacy in general
  • absence or inaccessible healthcare facilities

The Adivasis are traditionally hunter-gatherers and depend upon the rich forests for their daily source of nutrients. Shifting to government schemes, like the Public Distribution System (PDS) takes them away from their natural state of being, replacing their diverse dietary food consumption in a forest to more restricted packages provided by the government.

Additionally, displacement from their traditional living conditions in forests puts them in a difficult situation, as the Adivasi’s struggle to survive on more ‘urban’ lands.

A major transition in livelihood affects the health status of Adivasi women and men, which then takes a toll.

Adivasi Women During Pregnancy and Childbirth

In an interview to ANI, Archana said, “Adivasi women don’t eat nutritious food during pregnancy and also don’t take iron pills on a regular basis because it is a myth amongst them that they will have problems at the time of delivery of the child due to the pill”.

Nearly 50 per cent of tribal women are known to have haemoglobin deficiency.

The pregnant women in Jharkhand’s Dumka district are found to have only 8 grams of, while 11-14 grams is found in a normal human body. This creates obstructions in childbirth.

Adivasi households are known to rear pigs and goats which diminishes their calcium requirement. Additionally, the womenfolk indulge in labor work and fetch water from far off distances which often result in miscarriages.

health status of Adivasi women
An Adivasi woman with her child. Wikimedia

Adivasi Women and Anemia

As per figures from the National Family Health Survey 2015-2016, 71.5 per cent children between the ages of 6 to 59 months in rural areas of Jharkhand were found to be anemic. Furthermore, it was revealed that 67.3 per cent women within the age bracket 15-49 suffered from anemia.

Shockingly, this figure rose to a staggering 85 per cent in case of Adivasi women.

Nutrition, especially of the women, is of least importance in Adivasi communities, which when combined with poverty, lack of awareness and accessibility, create innumerable problems and negatively affect the health status of Adivasi women.

Anemic women naturally cannot be expected to have healthy children, which is why a negatively spiraling trend can be observed in India’s tribal population’s health.

Adivasi Women and Malnutrition

According to Dr Jugal Kishore, Director of Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi, malnutrition is a major cause of deaths in India. He observes that one in every three women in India suffer from anemia. The case is worse in Jharkhand where three out of four women are anemic.

As the Adivasi women continue to be anemic, their children are also malnourished.

In a conversation with ANI, State Adviser of the Supreme Court in Jharkhand, Balram revealed the piteous state of pregnant women and nursing mothers who are unable to get adequate nutrition.

He pointed out that these women are unable to receive due benefits of government schemes due to their improper implementation. “Food Safety regulations are being overlooked. In Anganwadi centres there is no proper record maintained of how the health of children suffering from malnutrition is monitored,” he said.

Culture Has A Role To Play Too

Adivasi women continue to depend on midwives to do their deliveries, instead of going to health centres or hospitals. It is also a common belief that consumption of iron or pills would hamper the health status of Adivasi women and their children.

Due to the customs and traditions being passed on over generations, some Adivasi women do not breastfeed their new born after birth, which gravely affects the health of the mother and child alike.

Many such cultural practices also support the proliferation of malnutrition among the Adivasi populations.

State of Public Healthcare Facilities

Despite establishment of Primary Healthcare Centres (PHC) in tribal areas, quality healthcare is still a dream for India’s tribal population.

These PHC are often at a dearth of doctors and trained paremedics. The non-availability of essential drugs, and proper infrastructure further worsen the case.

health status of Adivasi women
A frail looking Adivasi woman with her child. Wikimedia

Lack of knowledge and transportation in Adivasi regions is a huge drawback and travelling on foot to the PHC is a restraint for the tribal population which further hinders quality healthcare delivery.

Illiteracy is also a major factor for absence of good healthcare, as Adivasis’ fail to realize the need for healthcare and rights for care-seeking.

Even though the Adivasi community of India is deep rooted in traditions and superstitions, they have relatively accepted modern medicine in the last few years. But access to good health care continues to be a major issue of concern.

What Is The State Doing Regarding The Health Status Of Adivasi Women?

Jharkhand Welfare Minister Dr Lewis Marandi asserted that the state government is constantly making efforts to eradicate malnutrition and anemia, as per ANI report.

For the same, malnutrition centres have been opened in various districts of Jharkhand and the government is additionally providing supplementary nutritious food to children between the age of 6 to 72 months at meager costs.

Dr Kishore believes these supplementary food packages are also being sent for pregnant women, but they are not reaching the intended targets in rural and Adivasi areas.

The Road Ahead

As noted by the United Nations Children Fund, India has the highest tally of malnourished children in India. In this regard, in their efforts of remove malnutrition, the central government plans to introduce schemes guaranteeing increased amount of nutritional supplements to pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The State government has also been instructed to improve and closely monitor the functioning of PHC. Recently, the state government in Chhatisgarh extended livelihood opportunities to Adivasi women by training them to drive e-rickshaws, which are also expected to serve as ambulances in case of emergencies.

Similar initiative must be taken in Jharkhand and other states with Adivasi populations to bring the tribal communities to the mainstream.

However, what is crucial at the moment is for the government to spread awareness about the health of women, which must be given equal attention as the health of men in the Adivasi communities. At the same time, it is important to break the superstitions operational around the health status of Adivasi women.

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10 Tempting Desserts You Won’t Believe Are Sugarless!

People often eat less dessert for the fear of gaining unnecessary calories. However, We have brought to you a list of desserts which are sugarfree and thus there is no need to suppress your desires to have desserts.

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Desserts - Pixabay

Who doesn’t like a tasty dessert which melts in your mouth after dinner? A Dessert is a must after a dinner. But the sugar used in them leads to unnecessary calories in our bodies. If you have a sweet tooth and you are conscious about the unwanted calories, then these desserts are perfect for you to cconsume.

We have got the perfect list of desserts you won’t believe are sugarless, here for you so that you don’t have to give up on your dessert cravings. 

Here is the list of the Desserts which you won’t believe are Sugarless

Strawberry Blueberry Cake – Wikimedia Commons
  1. Blueberry pie

Many will be surprised to hear of a pie without sugar. Sugar is supposed to be the main ingredient in a pie. But it’s true that this pie is made without sugar. It is sweetened by the use of fresh blueberries and strawberries. This recipe is given by Chef Seema Chandra.

  1. Fruits With Silken Tofu

It is a simple yet splendid dish. Place some chopped fruits in a bowl along with some pureed tofu to turn it into a pudding dish that is amazing in taste. You can have as much as you want without having to fear about gaining calories. This recipe is given by Chef Bakshish Dean.

  1. Pumpkin Oats Cake

This dessert is best enjoyed with a cup of hot tea. This is not only healthy as it is made by pumpkin, oats, nuts, and jaggery but also is delicious. This recipe is given by Purva Vivek Sawant.

Coconut Laddoos – Wikimedia Commons
  1. Ragi Coconut Laddoos

These laddoos can be made and stored for satisfying sudden sweet cravings. These wholesome and sweet laddoos are not healthy but they are equally tasty. They are made up of coconut and ragi. In order to sweeten them, jaggery is used. Jaggery is good for warming the body during winters. The recipe for this dish has been given by A. Shanthi.

  1. Mocha and Prune Cheesecake

This is a creamy cheesecake with a flavor of coffee. The bittersweet taste of this dessert makes it an extra special one. In order to make it sweet, prunes are used. The recipe of the dish is given by Chef Vicky Ratnani.

  1. Fig Mousse

This is one dessert which leaves a tinge of sweetness in your mouth even after finishing it. The sweetness is given by the natural sweetness of the figs in the desert. The recipe of this amazing dessert is of Niru Gupta

  1. Hot Paneer Sandesh Pudding

This pudding just tastes heavenly with the freshly poured raspberry sauce on top of it. This is an innovative dessert made with the help of cottage cheese with a combination of warm spice like cloves, cardamom, and cinnamon. To give it natural sweetening, fresh fruits are added.  This is a dish given by Chef Seema Chandra.

  1. Custard Apple Kheer

This dessert is perfect to sweeten your festive mood. Made with a combination of custard apples, jaggery, coconut milk and nuts, this sweet dish is specially made for those who have a sweet tooth. The dessert will leave you wanting more. The recipe is given by Chef Sanatan Jojo South regional chef at Barbeque Nation.

Nutty Chocolate Cake with Ice Cream – Wikimedia Commons
  1. Nutty Chocolate Cake

This cake is full of honey and lots of crunchy dry fruits which gives it a sweet yet crunchy taste. This rich and moist dessert is extremely easy to make and better than the cakes found in the market. The recipe is given by Chef Vicky Ratnani.

  1. Sugar-Free Rice Pudding

This is a dish that has the sweetness of the coconut milk and juicy pineapple to make it sweet. This dish is so tasty that it leaves a mark every time it is eaten. This recipe belongs to Chef Vicky Ratnani.

-Prepared by Saloni Hindocha