In this global world, as super-rich emerge, the poor become even poorer. Currently, out of the 6.6 billion world population, about 20% are the so-called “extreme poverty” class and face high death rates for mothers giving birth, infants and children under age of 5.
Every year, millions of people die from hunger, malnutrition and diseases related to that. Especially poverty in Africa and South Asia is miserable. As our awareness towards global warming changes, production of bio fuel has increased, leading to the raise of corn and wheat prices. The world is moving to a critical direction. “2C”＝”Climate Change” and “3Ｆ”＝”Fuel, Food, and Feed” has a big impact to the people suffering from poverty. This is effecting heavily to the changes in global human society.
On February 15th, we held a conference on “Global Health: Under-nutrition” with the support of The World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other organizations. Dr. Tachi Yamada, President of Global Health Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, made the closing remark and I did the welcome remark. During lunch, there was a wonderful speech from the Ghanaian Minister of Health and Welfare.
In addition, the world’s leading medical journal “The Lancet” started to feature on world nutrition since this January. The article is based on data from vast evidence and finds issues, some what like building up data for what can be done. The real challenge is what we can really do to make a change.
Japan is doing grass-roots ODA activities such as distributing iodine salt to Mongolia, something that is unique to Japan.
School meals are good, but babies up to 1-2 years’ nutrition and supplying necessary elements (like iodine, iron etc.) is what is important. Especially breast-feeding should be the key nutrition for babies up to 6 months and if nutrition is not enough up to 1-2 years old, it will influence their lives later on like poor grades in school, and allowing themselves to be in a social level of facing unemployment and low wages. As this leads to unfortunate future for the children and gives great impact on the nation’s productivity, nutrition is indeed a big issue.
Today’s conference was very enlightening for me and I thought is was good.
Tomorrow will be the second day of the conference.