05 January 2015

Letter to New York Times, unpublished, please use

Here's a letter that I submitted to the New York TImes a few weeks back.  It was not accepted.  Please use the text where you feel appropriate.  

December 12, 2014

To the Editors of the New York Times

Dear Editors, in 9 months, world leaders will descend on New York during the UN General Assembly and proudly proclaim the beginning of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) era.  

As the just released first-ever Global Nutrition Report notes, malnutrition is a serious health issue for every country on the planet. Despite this, malnutrition is in danger of missing the SDG boat. Out of 169 SDG targets, nutrition is mentioned only once.  This, despite being responsible in one way or another for 45% of child deaths under 5 and global GNP losses of 8%.  And we know what to do to turn the tide and what we will get in return. Investments in scaling up nutrition programmes will yield economic returns that beat the performance of the Dow Jones Industrial over the past 80 years.  

Something is terribly wrong with this picture.  We urge all those who care about seeing shrunken and wizened children, baby coffins, morbidly obese individuals, and women rendered lifeless by anemia, to change the picture. Write to your congressman or woman, sign petitions, direct short videos, begin Twitter campaigns, talk to your spiritual leaders, call up your radio stations, tell your parents, children and friends: malnutrition affects all countries. 

Fortunately all countries can affect malnutrition through a series of interventions which are proven to be effective in reducing it--but they must hold themselves accountable for their efforts. That is achieved, in part, by getting more nutrition targets into the post 2015 development goals.  After all, what is measured stands a chance of getting done.   

Lawrence Haddad, Co-Chair of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report and Senior Research Fellow, International Food Policy Research Institute, Washington DC


Unknown said...

Lawrence well written! Feel sorry for NY Times to be complacent. If only the children had a right to vote, this constituency of policy leaders could ill afford to ignore this precious resource. Raj Bhandari from Mumbai, India

Judith Appleton MBE, Nutritionist said...

Purse-strings before heart-strings. If nutrition is a development issue,the economic benefits in para 2 should be the focus of advocacy, with health as the mechanism rather than the focus.