International Food Policy Research Institute

The state of hunger in developing countries as a group has improved since 1990, falling by 39 percent, according to the 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report released on Monday.
International Food Policy Research InstituteThe 2014 GHI report titled the ?Hidden Hunger? was released by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) under the auspices of Concern Worldwide and Welthungerhilfe, both NGOs, and made available to the Ghana News Agency.
Despite the progress made, the level of hunger in the world is still ?serious? with 805 million people continuing to go hungry according to estimates reported by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
The global average obscures dramatic differences across regions and countries. Regionally, the highest GHI scores-and therefore the highest hunger levels are in Africa south of the Sahara and South Asia, which experience the greatest absolute improvements since 2005.
The report indicated progress in addressing child underweight was the main factor behind the improved GHI score for the region since 1990.
From 1990 GHI to the 2014 GHI, 26 countries reduced their scores by 50 percent or more. In terms of absolute progress, comparing the 1990 GHI and 2014 GHI, Ghana, Angola, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Chad, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Thailand and Vietnam saw the biggest improvements in scores.
Ghana, for instance, has substantially decreased its GHI scores recording 71 percent, tying with Mexico and Venezuela and coming after Kuwait (90 percent), Thailand 77 percent, and Vietnam 76 percent. Peru, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Panama completed the pact in the first 10 positions globally.
Ghana?s progress according to the report was due to sustained reduction strategies in child underweight, child mortality by more than 40 percent and having slashed undernourished from 44 percent in 1990/1992 to less than five percent in 2011-2013.
It noted government?s ambitious project to provide all kindergarten and primary school pupils a daily hot, nutritious meal accounted for its position.
The report however said little progress has been made in eradicating anaemia among pregnant women and preschool children.
Levels of hunger are ?extremely alarming? or ?alarming? in 16 countries, with Burundi and Eritrea, both classified as ?extremely alarming? according to the report.
It observed one form of hunger that is often ignored or overshadowed by hunger related energy deficits in hidden hunger- also called micronutrient deficiency, which affects some 2 Billion people around the world.
Shenggen Fan Director General of IFPRI said ?We are excited to see that there are improvements in India and also globally.?
?The GHI shows that hunger has been decreasing since 1990, but there is much more to be done to address hunger?including hidden hunger?to ensure food and nutrition security for the most vulnerable.?

Hidden hunger affects not only the well-being of the individual. It also carries economic costs, cutting gross domestic product in many developing countries. Yet the benefits of action can be great: Research on the effects of salt iodization suggests that every dollar invested in iodization generates up to $81 in benefits.


?The great news is that we have clear evidence proving that investing in nutrition is one of the smartest development investments we can make,? said Dominic MacSorley, CEO of Concern Worldwide.
?What is needed now is more practical action on the ground, such as our RAIN project in Zambia included in this year?s GHI report, and more political action at the international level to end all forms of malnutrition.?

Preventing and treating hidden hunger requires action at all levels. The global community must ensure that the post-2015 framework includes a universal goal to end hunger and malnutrition in all its forms and clear mechanisms to ensure accountability.



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