Malnutrition and An Assortment of Food

“Malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one third of all child deaths, although it is rarely listed as the direct cause. Lack of access to highly nutritious foods, especially in the present context of rising food prices, is a common cause of malnutrition. Poor feeding practices, such as inadequate breastfeeding, offering the wrong foods, and not ensuring that the child gets enough nutritious food, contribute to malnutrition. Infection – particularly frequent or persistent diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles and malaria – also undermines a child’s nutritional status.”


World Hunger Education Service
World Hunger Education Service


As I looked around the breakfast table this morning with its assortment of peaches, cherries and blueberries and the pot of oatmeal laden with walnuts, dates and coconut with a tablespoonful of honey, I thought about the article that I had recently read about malnourishment on this planet traversing the cosmos. I wondered:

How many children have tasted a cherry, peach or blueberry? How many have enjoyed the simple pleasure of sitting around a breakfast table laden with fruits?

Unless we have visited a place where poverty has ravished a community, we who are in the West have little concept of not having enough to eat, especially in its infinite variety. Why should we since most of the world is as alien as walking on Pluto to our mindset?

However, the stark reality is that men, women and children are hungry and suffering. 795 million people do not have ample food to be healthy, and the tragic outcome of this is that 45% of children under 5 die (3.1 million per year). 100 million children are underweight (1 out 6).

Another tragic consequence for children is noma or cancrum oris. This infection eats the face.


In the links below noma is discussed. Warning: the video and images are very graphic.

This type of disease is preventable with proper nutrition and sanitation. Unfortunately, the living conditions in most of these countries are severely lacking.

In 2015 it would seem that instead of waging wars and engaging in religious extremism the “civilized” nations of the world could eradicate diseases like noma and raise the standard of living for the global millions who know no life except poverty and hardship. There are enough weapons of mass destruction to destroy this world countless times.

We all live on the same planet. It isn’t that small in 2015, and we all can do some part in making this orb hanging in infinite majesty a better place.

A question from an ancient sage:

“If not now, when? If not you, who?”
― Hillel the Elder

G. D. Williams © 2015

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Noma is a type of gangrene that destroys mucous membranes of the mouth and other tissues. It occurs in malnourished children in areas of poor cleanliness.

Noma (cancrum oris)

Noma is a severe disfiguring gangrene of the mouth and face that starts as a gingival ulcer and spreads rapidly through the tissues of the mouth and face [1-4]. Unlike other infectious processes of the face, which may progress along anatomic spaces of the head and neck, noma can disrupt anatomic barriers and spread through muscle and bone [4]. The resulting gangrene may involve the maxilla, the mandible, and extend to the nose and infraorbital margins (picture 1). The word noma derives from the Greek “voun,” meaning to devour, emphasizing the rapid progression of the disease [5,6].


Malnutrition brings a terrible disease to children in Niger: The Story of Mourdja

Facing Africa: NOMA

Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face. The victims of Noma are mainly children under the age of 6, caught in a vicious circle of extreme poverty and chronic malnutrition.


NOMA: The Disease of Poverty