Nepal, a sovereign located in South Asia between India and China, nestles into the world as one of the nations with the highest rates of malnutrition. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), approximately 40% of Nepal’s children under the age of five are underdeveloped. In regions near the mountains, this percentage increases to nearly 60%. Culturally, Nepal’s malnutrition problem is a product of the amount of uninformed people. Because many women don’t know that hygiene, and proper grain intake is essential to a child’s development during it’s first few months, many children are stunted. As explained within the article, Stunting: The Cruel Curse of Malnutrition in Nepal, Sadhana Ghimire says that she didn’t know how certain actions affected her child’s chances of being stunted. She explains how a female community health-worker stressed to her how important the first 1000 days of a child’s birth are the most important and that it therein made her change the way she fed her child. Preparing the proper meal, and “simple things like washing my hands,” were just a few of the actions that her social environment helped her understand what was important.
In order to help prevent this, the article explains that Nepal’s landscape is a major factor to the widespread malnutrition population. Because malnutrition is so widely spread amongst these regions that are separated as well, tackling the situation at different fronts seems to be the only way to help. The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is a political organization that helps address issues involving children and their emerging health needs. The organization has helped prove that the issue needs to be targeted from all aspects, not just one at a time and in an organized fashion. Nepal’s government has also been a major contributor to aiding this now epidemic problem. As of 2012, five ministries in Nepal came together and formed the Multi-Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) and combined with SUN (Scaling up Nutrition), are providing interventions that aim at reducing the prevalence of malnutrition in Nepal’s various sectors. Even more recently, the WFP has started a five-year program that will tackle the food insecurity, concentrating it’s aid in regions where malnutrition is the highest.
Though it was hard to find an exact anthropologist that worked closely in Nepal in order to help fight this issue, I did find a final report conducted by UNICEF titled, “Evaluation of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition” where descriptions of acts that have been conducted in Nepal in order to target the issue of malnutrition were explained. An anthropologist by the name of Pushpa Kamal Subedi was listed amongst the contributors to the relief outreach. The report stated various object of the project, costs, etc… In the book The Anthropology of Health and Healing, written by Mari Womack, presents a non-profit organization, Bread for the World, which acknowledges that Nepal’s high malnutrition rates are a problem and of major need, includes a range of biomedical and anthropological approaches to the issue.
To say that nothing is being done in order to help Nepal would be incredibly incorrect. Though I didn’t find a specific anthropologist that has been working on Nepal’s malnutrition front, the organizations that are committed to solving the problem include specialists ranging from anthropologists, medical anthropologists, medical doctors, governmental/political influential leaders, and volunteers among many others. I definitely implore people to look into this issue and will definitely be doing more research to find an anthropologist who is involved closely with this case.
-“Homepage – Bread for the World: Have Faith. End Hunger.” Bread. Accessed August 8, 2014.
-Womack, Mari. The Anthropology of Health and Healing. Lanham, Md.: AltaMira Press, 2010.
-“World Food Programme Fighting Hunger Worldwide.” Nepal. Accessed August 8, 2014.
-“Stunting: The Cruel Curse of Malnutrition in Nepal.” – Global Issues. Accessed August 8, 2014.