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[The hidden starving. Nutrition in underdeveloped countries] Den dolda svalten: Nutrition v utvecklingslanderna -- ett angelaget arbete.
NORDISK MEDICIN. 1997 Jun; 112(6):204-5.Undernutrition and malnutrition among children and women have diminished in most low-income countries in recent decades except for large parts of Africa. The Swedish International Agency for Development Cooperation (Sida), UNICEF, and the World Bank have financed nutrition projects. The right type of intervention can achieve much for children, especially when breast feeding is promoted. Although the importance of iodine has been known for a long time, the intensive iodination of salt worldwide has been propagated only in recent years. Research has shown that even slight deficiency of iodine leads to reduced ability to learn among children. 23-45% of child mortality could be reduced if the vitamin A needs of children could be assured. A combined strategy of large doses of vitamin A in capsule form as well as vitamin A-rich meals prepared from vegetables is recommended. Iron deficiency affects about half of the women and small children in many countries. Children's learning ability also worsens if iron deficiency is present. In the poorest countries nutritional assistance often falters because of the lack of local capacity to distribute and utilize aid. Sida has been singularly responsible for building up capacity to absorb aid in many African countries. In Ethiopia and Zambia mixed results have ensued, but in Zimbabwe and Tanzania the outcome has been splendid after many years of exertion. In these countries the nutritional status of children has improved in the 1990s despite their stagnating economies. The Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre is technically the best developed on the continent, while Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health has succeeded in carrying out a nationwide nutrition program, and for most children (nearly 1 million) it provided a feeding program amidst recurring droughts. The promotion of the importance of breast feeding is borne out by the fact that exclusive breast feeding protects children against disease and stunting.