by Tanvi Mittal
In 2018, 149 million children who were under the age of 5, could not grow to their adequate height and weight. In other words, they were undernourished. Undernourishment is when people don’t have enough to eat causing inadequate nutrition for healthy living. When you are undernourished you feel weak and tired a lot of the time. More importantly, nutrient deficiencies can cause diseases like scaly skin, bleeding gums, bulging eyes and in extreme cases, even death. 821 million people in the world still do not get enough food to eat. That is more than one-ninth the population of the world. A case in point is Iraq, as 25% to 35% of its people suffer from undernourishment.
Iraq is located in the middle east and has been a war zone for the last fifteen years and has had an armed conflict for nearly two decades resulting in a large number of its resources being spent on defence, leaving little for the development and well being of its people. War displaces a lot of people from their homes and they often end up in unhygienic conditions without food in places like refugee camps. They have to be separated from their family which can be very dangerous especially for young children. When they are in places like refugee camps, their living conditions become really critical. Here they can get infectious diseases like diarrhoea and measles. 53% of Iraq’s residents and 66% of displaced people were prone to food instability. A lot of countries imposed sanctions on Iraq, affecting its exports and trades. Sanctions imposed by other countries and the money going towards weapons left the citizens of Iraq economically challenged until they could not afford essential necessities like basic food and water. Right now almost 75% of children are working hard every day to contribute and provide food for their families by staying home and working willingly when they should be going to school.
Focusing on maintaining peace between and around the region would help the country spend less on protection and weaponry providing more resources for the development of the people of Iraq. Using this money could give them a more stable base and evade undernourishment in the country. The government should focus on good sanitation, clean drinking water and a healthy environment for its people.
Undernourishment in Iraq affects society because it can spread around in some cases like such as measles. Malnutrition can lower your immunity making you prone to contracting many diseases and infections, some of which could be contagious, such as measles. It can also affect your social life because if you are sick and unwell most of the time you won’t get to interact with people which is important for a balanced life. Economically, in less developed countries, like Iraq, there are more chances of people being unnourished compared to a developed country like the United States where it would be rare to find someone who is not able to meet their daily food requirement. This is because of low productivity, undernourished people are less likely to get a job or earn money, making it difficult for their families to thrive. This solution would improve the environment because when a war is going on there are a lot of bad chemicals in the air and any military activities could use extensive use of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. Spending less money on things like bombs will make the air quality better. Ethically this is important because a country should provide its citizens with basic food. Having a better relationship with other countries could definitely help the country economically. There would be fewer countries that sanction against Iraq which would give them more money which they could use to help the undernourished. Of course, the more allies the country has, the more stable it will be. So this impacts the government in a positive way too.
In brief, a lot of the undernourishment caused in Iraq is because of the number of resources spent on weaponry instead of food. This problem can be solved by having a more stable relationship with other countries. It will give the government more to provide for Iraq’s people. Not only Not only will this solution leave Iraq with fewer undernourished people, but it will also give them a more safe place to live. The children of Iraq are the future of the country and these solutions will improve the lives of generations to come.
Kysia, Ramzi. “Malnutrition in Iraq.” CounterPunch.org, 12 Oct. 2015, www.counterpunch.org/2002/11/25/malnutrition-in-iraq/.
Academy, Geneva. “Non-International Armed Conflicts in Iraq.” Rulac, 2019, www.rulac.org/browse/conflicts/non-international-armed-conflicts-in-iraq#collapse1accord.
Mahdī, Akbar. “Iraqi Cuisine.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 July 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraqi_cuisine.
Iraq, Nutrition. “Eastern Mediterranean Region.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 2019, www.emro.who.int/irq/programmes/nutrition.html.