Sunday March 29, 2020

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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Know Why You Should Not Consume Too Much Salt

Too much salt in your diet can weaken your immune system

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Excessive salt intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system. Pixabay

Researchers have found that eating too much salty diet weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight off bacterial infections.

For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the research team fed mice a high-salt diet and found more severe bacterial infections.

Human volunteers who consumed an additional six grams of salt per day also showed pronounced immune deficiencies. This amount corresponds to the salty content of two fast-food meals, the study said.

Five grams a day, no more: This is the maximum amount of salty diet that adults should consume according to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO). It corresponds approximately to one level teaspoon.

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For the findings, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the research team fed mice a high-salt diet and found more severe bacterial infections. Pixabay

“We have now been able to prove for the first time that excessive salty diet intake also significantly weakens an important arm of the immune system,” said study researcher Christian Kurts from the University of Bonn in Germany.

According to the researchers, this finding is unexpected, as some studies point in the opposite direction.

“We were able to show this in mice with a listeria infection,” said study lead author Katarzyna Jobin from the University of Wurzburg.

“We had previously put some of them on a salty diet. In the spleen and liver of these animals, we counted 100 to 1,000 times the number of disease-causing pathogens,” Jobin added.

Listeria is bacteria that are found for instance in contaminated food and can cause fever, vomiting and sepsis. Urinary tract infections also healed much more slowly in laboratory mice fed a high-salt diet.

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Eating too much salt weakens your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight off bacterial infections. Pixabay

Sodium chloride also appears to have a negative effect on the human immune system, the study said.

“We examined volunteers who consumed six grams of salt in addition to their daily intake, this is roughly the amount contained in two fast-food meals, i.e. two burgers and two portions of French fries,” Kurts said.

After one week, the scientists took blood from participants and examined the granulocytes. The immune cells coped much worse with bacteria after the test participants had started to eat a high-salt diet.

Also Read- Here’s Your 20-Minutes Workout Module

In human volunteers, excessive salt intake also resulted in increased glucocorticoid levels. The best-known glucocorticoid cortisone is traditionally used to suppress inflammation, according to the study.

“Only through investigations in an entire organism were we able to uncover the complex control circuits that lead from salty diet intake to this immunodeficiency,” Kurts stressed. (IANS)