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Parts Of Asia-Pacific Region Suffer From Acute Malnutrition And Hunger: UN

The report notes climate-related disasters are rising in the region, having a detrimental impact on agriculture.

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Hunger
A Papuan child suffering from malnutrition lies in a hospital bed for treatment in Agats, the capital of Asmat district in Indonesia's easternmost Papua province. VOA

Four U.N. specialized agencies warn that many parts of Asia and the Pacific suffer from alarmingly high levels of malnutrition and hunger. This is the first time the Food and Agriculture Organization, the U.N. Children’s Fund, the World Food Program and the World Health Organization have issued a joint report, which calls for urgent action to reverse the situation.

The report finds efforts to reduce malnutrition and hunger have come to a virtual standstill in Asia and the Pacific. Unless greater effort is made to tackle this situation, it warns prospects for economic and social development in the region will be at serious risk.

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Malnourished and displaced Somali children sit in a tent in their camp on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia. VOA

As of now, the U.N. agencies say many parts of Asia and the Pacific will not reach the U.N. sustainable goal of ending all forms of malnutrition and achieving zero hunger by 2030.

The United Nations reports 821 million people globally suffer from hunger. World Food Program spokesman Herve Verhoosel said 62 percent of that number, or 509 million people, are in the Asia-Pacific region, with children, in particular, bearing the biggest burden.

Verhoosel said 79 million children, or one in every four under age five, suffer from stunting, and 34 million children are wasting. He says 12 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, which increases their risk of death.

Hunger
Faduma Hussein Yagoub, a polio sufferer, came with her family to Dadaab from Somalia. Her husband and two of her five young children died of hunger on the way. Despite the dangers thousands of refugees every week are making the journey, walking for weeks across the desert and braving attacks by armed robbers and wild animals:

The report notes climate-related disasters are rising in the region, having a detrimental impact on agriculture. Loss of crops, it says, results in more hunger, more loss of nutrition and loss of livelihood.

Also Read: Loss of Teeth In Elder People Linked to Malnutrition

According to the report, climate-related losses in Asia between 2005 and 2015 amounted to a staggering $48 billion. Authors of the report say countries in the region must adapt agriculture so it’s more resilient to extreme climate events, and to mitigate the damage from climate change. (VOA)

Next Story

AI App With Microsoft Azure to Tackle Malnutrition in India

The new app will hugely impact the early identification of children suffering from malnutrition, thereby reducing the treatment time

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Sanjay Mehta
The children of families in Saranda, Jharkhand suffer from malnutrition and malaria. Sanjay Mehta

Germany-based non-profit Welthungerhilfe has developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) smartphone app, powered by Microsoft Azure, to tackle malnutrition in India.

The Child Growth Monitor — a cloud-based app powered by Microsoft Azure and AI services — can detect malnutrition and enable health workers to identify and provide care to children suffering from chronic undernourishment.

By March, the app will help health workers scan 10,000 children under the age of five for signs of malnutrition, across Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the company said in a statement on Thursday.

Twelve teams of 150 trained health workers have been provided app-enabled smartphones to collect the data of children, it added.

The app uses an infrared sensor available in some smartphones to capture 3D measurements of a child’s height, body volume and weight ratio, as well as head and upper arm circumferences down to the millimetre.

Representational image showing a malnutrition ridden child.

The app loads that captured data into Microsoft Azure. Nutritionists and IT specialists then evaluate the scans by using Microsoft AI solutions, pinpointing a child’s dietary health.

“Today, more than 800 million people around the world suffer from hunger. You can’t solve hunger if you don’t know where the hungry people are,” said Jochen Moninger, Innovation Director at the Welthungerhilfe.

Also Read- Partial Shutdown of US Delays Space Missions, But NASA Not Grounded

“The Child Growth Monitor app will emerge as a recognised, global solution among humanitarian organisations. In India alone, that could free up hundreds of millions of dollars for reinvestment into the lives of children,” he added.

The new app will hugely impact the early identification of children suffering from malnutrition, thereby reducing the treatment time. (IANS)