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장기간의 영양실조 사태에 직면한 과테말라 어린이들

2009.02.20

* UNICEF: Chronic Malnutrition Affects One in Two Guatemalan Children
* 시간: 02 min 56 secs
* 촬영국가: Santa Lucia
* 촬영도시: Guatemala
* 촬영일자: 18 Feb 2009


Guatemala has struggled with the problem of malnourished children for generations. Santa Sebastiana Aguilar Pacheco knows about malnourishment first-hand. She lives with her elderly mother, husband and two children in Santa Lucia, Guatemala. She earns less than one U.S. dollar a day, by raising rabbits and cleaning other people's houses.


Her husband is getting old and recently injured his leg. The only work he can find is helping gather feed for the rabbits. Pacheco has a bad leg, too, with 11 surgeries to repair chronic nerve and vein damage.


SOT Santa Sebastiana Aguilar Pacheco: "I tend to look for whatever food is cheapest because money is scarce. One day we might have a little bit of beans, another day rice, another day turnips. Sometimes we'll have nothing but turnips for lunch. We don't have any meat. We raise rabbits but we sell them, we don't eat them."


Signs of poverty are everywhere: the husband's work boot, torn years ago; homemade electrical wiring; an eye infection that was never properly treated.


The lack of money means lack of food, which means potentially devastating consequences for her children.


Half the children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition, which manifests itself in stunted growth, and lowered
IQ scores.


SOT UNICEF's representative in Guatemala, Adriano González-Regueral: "One out of two children is chronically malnourished in Guatemala. But in indigenous communities, it's four out of five children, 80 percent."


If children are malnourished during key periods of growth, they won't develop properly. A boy who appears to be only nine years old might actually be 12 because of stunting. And he's lost potential that will never be recovered.

Future generations will have lowered intellectual capacity and productivity that will slow the progress of the entire country.


UNICEF and the U.N. are working with the government, various non-governmental organizations and private corporations to implement a national plan for the reduction of chronic malnutrition. This strategy includes lobbying public officials for legal reforms, the creation of feeding centers to provide vitamins and micronutrients, as well as the promotion of breastfeeding.


Families like the Pachecos are in desperate need of help. Right now, only a small portion of them are being reached.
They're barely surviving, and their children are being swept up in a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.
This is Thomas Nybo reporting for UNICEF Television in Santa Lucia, Guatemala. Unite fo

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