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Sanitation and Hygiene: Nutrition's Blind Spot

Christopher Walsh's picture

According to the World Food Program, a third of all deaths in children under the age of 5 in developing countries are linked to undernutrition.  Undernourished children also suffer from childhood stunting, or low height for age.  For those who survive when stunted at the age of 2, the damage is largely irreversible and has lasting impacts on cognition and health.

  In this Hunger and Undernutrition blog published by Humanitas Global Development, Juan Costain of the World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program points out that much of the discussion on undernutrition is leaving out the important role played by safe sanitation, which is frequently overlooked or under-emphasized.

 Separately, in this blog published by the Institute of Development Studies, Research Associate Robert Chambers asks whether professional specialization prevents us from seeing the bigger picture, and whether sanitation and hygiene are not only a huge priority in eliminating undernutrition but even, bar famines and seasonal crises, possibly the main means?

 Image:  Doctors examining a child. Cyprus. Photo: © Yosef Hadar / World Bank