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Updated On: Saturday, November 18 2017

“Mighty Baby” Fights Malnutrition In Haiti

Photo: UN Photo

Content by: South-South News

The poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is a country beset by challenges – among them malnutrition.

Many Haitians suffering from malnutrition live in the nation's rural mountainous villages, where plenty of food grows – but not enough different kinds of food to provide children with a balanced diet.

"Children need a variety of foods to give them strength and to develop their brains and bodies and they're not getting it," says Casimir Alfred, the program coordinator for the Haitian Health Foundation. "Protein sources are very expensive, there's high unemployment and people can't afford them."

To address this problem, UNICEF, in cooperation with local NGOs, has begun distributiong "Bebe Vanyan" in Haiti's rugged mountains. A nutritious powder, Bebe Vanyan – which translates to "Mighty Baby" – gives young children the vitamins and minerals that they might otherwise be forced to go without.

"The Haitian Health Foundation, UNICEF and the Ministry of Public Health are working together to make this a national program so that all Haitian children under 5 can get the essential nutritional elements they need in their diets," Mr. Alfred says.

UNICEF also sponsors awareness programs, that are designed to teach Haitian parents the importance of a varied and nutritious diet for their kids.

"Most people did not know how to balance their child's diet, like how to incorporate different food groups into every meal," explains Belo Fado, a community health agent.

In a country that has, in only the past three years, been ravaged by hurricanes, a cholera epidemic, and one of the most devastating earthquakes in history, solving the nutrition crisis is an essential priority. Ensuring that kids get enough food – and the right kind of food – helps them as they grow and develop and ensures that they will be strong and resistant to the diseases that threaten them.

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