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Posts tagged with: history

When hunger was close to home

This blog is one of several published in real time during the live event “nutrition for growth; beating hunger through business and science”. The rest of the blogs can be found by clicking the links at the bottom of the page. Some of those organisations supporting this movement are include The IF campaignThe ONE campaign DFID


The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, spoke movingly of a time when hunger was close to these shores. The Irish potato famine killed a million people and a further million were displaced from their homes as they tried to avoid the Great Hunger. Kenny talked of women taking their children and struggling one final journey to lie down in church graveyards to ensure they would all receive a christian burial.


Just last week, it was announced that the pathogen responsible for this horror had been identified. A single strain of a fungus known as Phytophthora infestans it is distinct from modern strains.




The landscape for hunger may be different in 2013, but this kind of despair still happens. Its may not always be death by starvation that is happening in Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda and Kenya, but it will be death from other common childhood illnesses  that the immune system of a well-nourished child ought to be able to fight off.

All of our interventions, the vaccines, the antibiotics, the rehydration therapy, all work better when the patient is not lacking vital nutrients, so addressing the issue of feeding the close to a billion people worldwide who are undernourished will have a massive k knock-on effect on ending poverty.


  • Undernutrition is an underlying cause in 45% of deaths amongst children under five, while globally, nearly one in four children under age 5 (some 165 million) are stunted.


  • Undernutrition costs 11% of the GDP in Africa and Asia.Poverty and undernutrition go hand in hand.


  • Undernutrition causes STUNTING and WASTING. More on this in the next blog.


Why the time to act is now: https://wp.me/p3scvU-lT


Mark Walport: https://wp.me/p3scvU-lR


Ireland remembers: https://wp.me/p3scvU-lN


Malawi: https://wp.me/p3scvU-lK


It’s not difficult to make a difference: https://wp.me/p3scvU-lK


Some bloke called Dave https://wp.me/p3scvU-lr


Unicef’s 1000 Days https://wp.me/p3scvU-lm


Can science end starvation? https://wp.me/p3scvU-lg