Project Healthy Children

Week 48: Project Healthy Children

This week, we are focusing on nutrients. Project Healthy Children’s mission is to end malnutrition in our lifetime.

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There are over 2 billion people lacking access to vital nutrients.

These deficiencies can lead to maternal death, preventable blindness, and intellectual disability in children. PHC aims to solve this issue through food fortification, a common practice in developed countries. 

If you look at your milk, salt, or cereal, you will find that more often than not, it has been fortified with important nutrients. It is easy to take these added nutrients for granted, and they only cost about 10 cents per person per year, but many people in developing countries don’t get these benefits.

“PHC works with national governments and manufacturers to fortify staple foods with essential micronutrients such as iron, folic acid and iodine, protecting populations from debilitating conditions caused by malnutrition. PHC works with both large-scale and small-scale producers of staple food products in order to reach even the most vulnerable populations with essential micronutrients, at an average cost of 25 cents per person per year. Worldwide, PHC’s food fortification programs benefit more than 55 million people.” 

When researching organizations for GIVE52, I have learned a lot about measures of efectiveness. How can we know that these interventions are working? And how do we invest each dollar to do the most good? One measure is cost effectiveness.

“It’s more cost effective than vaccinations in preventing or fighting disease. Micronutrient deficiency materially compromises the immune system of over 40% of the children in the developing world. It increases their chances of dying from curable diseases like measles, malaria, and diarrhea by about 35%.” PHC’s initiatives are based on evidence from economic- and science-backed results. These studies are important and confirm that food fortification prevents harm.

Another thing that I admire is that part of PHC’s mission is to ensure that they do not become a permanent part of a country's food distribution and health systems. Instead of staying forever, they are working to make themselves obsolete by finding sustainable ways for the governments to continue successful programs without a permanent presence. 

The goal is to end malnutrition in our lifetime and, this week, I am happy we get to play a small part in that.
Have a terrific Monday!