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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters: Nutrition

The women featured in our story from Burkina Faso are learning to augment their diets with foods they can grow at home at little or no cost. The benefits they gain from eating a more balanced diet are also passed on to their infants in the form of breast milk.

Malnutrition is defined as the condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function. The term is commonly used to refer to children and adults who do not have enough to eat, or are undernourished. But people who are over-nourished, or overweight, can also be malnourished if they do not consume enough essential vitamins and minerals. This can be caused by a lack of variety in the diet. Infants, young children, and pregnant or breastfeeding women need larger quantities of some nutrients includin calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C and D. They are therefore more susceptible to malnutrition. So avoiding malnutrition is not jut about eating more, it is about eating better. In many cases, “better” means a more varied diet.

For more facts and information about malnutrition, please visit these sites:

-http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/malnutrition/en/

-http://www.wfp.org/hunger/malnutrition

-http://www.who.int/topics/nutrition/en/

The website of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) also provides useful background information: http://www.gainhealth.org/about-malnutrition

GAIN is part of a partnership called Thousand Days, which promotes investment in improved nutrition for mothers and children in the 1,000 day period from pregnancy to age two. According to the GAIN website, better nutrition during this period can have a life-changing impact on a child: http://www.thousanddays.org/

Read more about the World Food Programme’s activities in DR Congo here: http://www.wfp.org/countries/Congo–Democratic-Republic-Of/Operations

Farm Radio International has produced many scripts on health and nutrition. Browse our archive here: http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/health.asp

Here are some stories from Farm Radio Weekly related to nutrition:

Zimbabwe: Women grow better lives near the city (FRW 168, August 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/08/15/zimbabwe-women-grow-better-lives-near-the-city-by-zenzele-ndebele-for-farm-radio-weekly-in-zimbabwe/

Mali: Traditional healers join fight against malnutrition (FRW 165, July 2011) http://weekly.farmradio.org/2011/07/25/mali-traditional-healers-join-fight-against-malnutrition-irin/

As part of the United States Agency for International Development’s Infant and Young Child Nutrition Project, the Zambia Ministry of Health and partners developed a 13-part radio series called “Bushes That Grow Are the Future Forest.” The aim of the series was to improve infant and young child nutrition practices. Follow this link to find more information and links to scripts and radio spots: http://weekly.farmradio.org/2012/02/27/radio-series-on-infant-nutrition-in-zambia/

Farm Radio International is also working to improve maternal, newborn and child health in Burkina Faso. Follow this link to find out more: http://www.farmradio.org/portfolio/improving-maternal-newborn-and-child-health-in-burkina-faso/

Poor nutrition and hunger are all too common in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in rural areas. You might wish to produce a program that covers the basic facts of nutrition and malnutrition, how to recognize and treat symptoms of malnutrition, or how to prevent malnutrition and promote good nutrition. As well as presenting facts, ask women and men farmers what they understand by malnutrition, and try to identify and clarify any misconceptions. Interview health experts or representatives from  NGOs that work on nutrition and health. You could also explore the links between agriculture and nutrition, such as growing vegetables to diversify diets. It is a huge topic, so be creative!

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