New York, NY–(ENEWSPF)–September 12, 2011 – Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), is presenting “Starved for Attention,” a free interactive exhibit that simulates a Doctors Without Borders field clinic, to raise awareness about the crisis of childhood malnutrition, a preventable and treatable condition that nonetheless continues to affect 195 million children worldwide and contributes to at least one-third of the eight million deaths of children under five every year.
The exhibit will feature proven methods to roll-back malnutrition—which must be scaled up worldwide—and will engage visitors in joining the fight to ensure that the global food aid system provides malnourished children with the foods they actually need, rather than the substandard foods currently sent overseas.
“Starved for Attention” will visit the following cities and parks on the East Coast this fall:
- New York City: September 13, Union Square
- Brooklyn, New York: September 14-16 and 21-23, Prospect Park, Grand Army Plaza
- Philadelphia: September 30-October 2, Independence National Historical Park
- Baltimore: October 7-9, Patterson Park
- Washington D.C.: October 14 – 16, John Marshall Park
The “Starved for Attention” exhibit will recreate a Doctors Without Borders field hospital specializing in the treatment of malnourished children, just like those currently used by the organization to treat tens of thousands of malnourished children in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, due to ongoing drought and conflict in Somalia. Doctors Without Borders also operates regular nutrition programs in malnutrition “hotspots” such as Niger, Burkina Faso, and India.
Doctors Without Borders medical staff and aid workers—who have worked in malnutrition projects in the field—will guide visitors through the simulated medical clinic, made up of a series of tents.
After visitors learn about malnutrition, and how Doctors Without Borders works to prevent and treat the condition, visitors will be able to view stunning multimedia documentaries about how childhood malnutrition manifests around the world, produced by the award-winning photojournalists of VII Photo.
Malnutrition is not merely the result of too little food. The first two years of life are a critical window when children need access to a diet consisting of high-quality protein, essential fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, in order to avoid impaired growth and development, increased risk of death from common illnesses, or life-long health and developmental impairment.
Yet food aid largely does not include these essential ingredients for early childhood growth and development.
“Foods we would never give our own children here in the U.S. are being sent overseas as food aid to the most vulnerable children, when we know from first-hand experience that there is an easy and cost-effective solution that works, but is not being utilized by food aid donors,” said Sophie Delaunay, executive director for Doctors Without Borders in the United States. “This double standard must stop.”
Visitors to the exhibit will also be able to sign a petition demanding that policymakers in Washington, D.C. improve the nutritional quality of U.S. food aid sent overseas. The latest scientific findings from Doctors Without Borders field programs show that mortality rates can be reduced by as much as half when children at risk of malnutrition receive highly nutritious supplemental food and access to health care.
Initiated two years ago by Doctors Without Borders, “Starved for Attention” is an advocacy campaign that seeks to achieve key reforms of the international food aid system, to ensure that young, growing children receive the quality foods they need.
“Our hope is that visitors will not only learn about the underlying causes of malnutrition, but that they will join us in the fight against it – a fight that can be won,” said Delaunay. “A key goal of the traveling exhibit is to get people to sign the petition demanding key reforms of the U.S. food aid system. The U.S. is the world’s biggest food aid donor, so visitors to the exhibit have an opportunity to make a difference.”
Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is an international independent medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural and man-made disasters, and exclusion from health care in nearly 70 countries and was the recipient of the 1999 Nobel Peace Prize.