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Islands Of Excellence In Oceans Of Apathy - Why Are We Better At Saving Lives Than At Improving Them?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter focuses on the problem of malnutrition since it offers an example of a challenge that should not be seen as an issue of primary relevance to humanitarian or to development work; it straddles both domains and has to be overcome through accountable actions in each. Malnutrition is a key determinant of mortality in three principal ways: it reduces the body's immunity to infectious diseases; it engenders specific deficiency diseases; and it brings about a vicious cycle of weight-loss, reduced appetite, and inflammatory response in the body - causing more weight loss. Tackling malnutrition is a core aspect of humanitarian relief, and, as such, represents a commitment by the international community to uphold the moral right of the hungry not only to sustenance but to something more far-reaching: sound nutrition.

Keywords: humanitarian crisis; malnutrition; principle of responsibility to protect



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