In Africa, 1 in every 10 infants dies due to malnutrition. (www.livestrong.com) Although everyone is affected by malnutrition, it seems to target mostly women and children. Children suffer the most because they are lacking the proper nutrients that are critical for normal growth and development. Over the years malnutrition has increased greatly.
Malnutrition can either mean being undernourished or over nourishe
d. In the cases of many African children, undernourishment is the major problem. They lack the proper nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to grow at a normal and healthy rate.
Malnutrition has a wide variety of causes. One of the major causes is drought. Drought causes water wells to dry up and can kill animals, which are used for food. Poverty is another cause. Being poor, parents cannot support their entire family, therefore they just abandon children. This is another cause of malnutrition.
Symptoms of malnutrition are numerous. Although being underweight may be one of the most obvious symptoms, so is abdominal swelling. Stomach swelling is usually a result of PCM, Protein Calorie Malnutrition. PCM is very rare in the United States, but it is very common in poor countries. Protein Calorie Malnutrition is caused by lack of food. In PCM, the lymphatic system cannot keep up with the leakage of fluid from blood vessels and organs, so the stomach bloats with waste fluids. As children begin to experience all the symptoms, it leads up to a weak immune system. While some of the symptoms are not reversible, others are. That is where vitamins come in.
Vitamins can help the malnourished greatly. There are many different things vitamins can do to help children. Vitamin A is known to help prevent blindness, which can be caused by malnutrition. (www.kidhealth.org) Vitamin A also helps maintain healthy skin, hair, nails and teeth. Vitamin C is essential because it helps with bone development, wound healing, and healthy gums and teeth. Without vitamin C, a person can experience bleeding gums, easy bruising, swollen joints, and slow healing wounds. Vitamin D plays a big role in maintaining the needed levels of Calcium and Phosphorus. Without vitamin D, children are likely to develop softened bones and high blood pressure. It is also possible to develop cancers and even diabetes. Vitamin E is needed to maintain needed levels of vitamins A and C. Vitamin E helps boost the immune system and slows cells from aging. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting and bones. Without it bones and cartilage would not develop correctly. Easy bruising and excessive bleeding can occur due to a lack of vitamin K. Children who are malnourished need to take vitamins, so that they may restore the vitamins they are not getting due to lack of food.
You can help the children who suffer from malnutrition, which seems to be a never ending problem in Africa. Our group of high school students has dedicated itself to the Mattaw Village, to make sure that each orphan gets one vitamin a day until the end of February. By buying a card you can help provide a bottle of vitamins for Mattaw.