Beware of hidden hunger for refugees

Natural disasters such as tsunami, floods, earthquakes left a deep sorrow for the whole region who experience it. Various problems arise such disaster. Hundreds of thousands of human beings must live in refugee camps since the storm swept away her home. They become totally dependent on help from others to survive.

One of the serious problems commonly faced by increasing numbers of refugees are malnourished. From the data in the malnourished refugees in various locations, on average, an increase in the prevalence of malnutrition by 20%.

The main nutritional problem is protein-energy malnutrition. Protein-energy malnutrition characterized by a decrease in body weight (underweight). At a more severe protein-energy malnutrition can lead to marasmus (wrinkled skin and face look like an old person's face), kwashiorkor (edema and round face), or a combination of both. Protein-energy malnutrition is a major cause of death indirectly refugees. Analysis of data from the refugee camps, especially in Asia and Africa have shown the close connection between the prevalence of malnutrition and high mortality of refugees. This happens because people with protein-energy malnutrition are highly vulnerable to diseases, especially infectious diseases.

There are several factors causing the increasing prevalence of malnutrition to refugees. First, a sudden decline in food availability (food availability) due to lack of food and / or distribution of food is disrupted. Coverage to food is sufficient, both quantity and quality, are also low due to the disruption of food distribution. This is further aggravated by the low purchasing power of IDPs. Second, unhealthy environmental conditions (hygiene and poor sanitation), the level of exposure to infectious diseases is high, and low standards of health care increasingly aggravate the problem of malnutrition to refugees.

In addition, refugees also faced with an entirely new environment. They were "forced" to
accept the cultural eating (eating habits) are new. This will impact on food acceptance and ultimately on the quantity and quality of food consumed daily.

Today, along with the flow of food aid to refugees, food needs (to satisfy hunger) may not be a problem. However, food does not only aim to satisfy hunger. More than that, the food should be able to provide the nutrients needed by the body. Another nutritional problem of no less significance are threatening refugees are micro nutrient deficiencies (e.g vitamin of A, group of  B vitamins, vitamin of C, vitamin of D, vitamin of E, iron, calcium, iodine, phosphorus, and zinc). Problem of malnutrition is also known as hidden hunger (hidden hunger).

Hidden hunger will have an impact on the disruption of growth and development of infants, children, and fetuses conceived by the mother. Micro nutrient deficiency also resulted in body resistance (immunity) the child is low. As a result children susceptible to disease. Micro nutrient deficiency is caused by the limited food sources of this nutrient. The main sources are vegetables, fruits, and meats. Dry foods (such as fast food)-which is currently a principal menu refugees can only be accounted for 20-30% of the vitamins and minerals per day. Even some of the minerals that are needed by the body is not present in dry foods (fast food).

No comments:

Post a Comment