The toll of child malnutrition is not lost on communications manager Indra Kshetri. Growing up in Nepal, where one million children suffer from malnutrition, Indra has witnessed its devastating consequences firsthand. “I have seen so many maternal and child deaths. Even in my own family, I lost one of my siblings,” he said in a recent interview. It’s this core lived experience that informs his committed partnership with Helen Keller Intl.
Malnutrition is the single greatest threat to child survival today, accounting for 45% of all child deaths worldwide. In Nepal, the numbers are dire: 36% of all Nepalese children suffer from chronic malnutrition, with a staggering 1 in 10 experiencing it severely. The 1,000-day window between the start of the pregnancy and the child’s second birthday is a critical period of rapid cognitive development — with over a million new neural connections established every second.
Malnutrition is the single greatest threat to child survival today, accounting for 45% of all child deaths worldwide.
Without adequate nutrition, malnutrition can cause irreversible damage to a child’s brain affecting their ability to succeed in school and life. But there is hope in the form of lifesaving interventions.
On a recent trip to the southernmost district of Nepal, Indra remembers meeting an expecting mother of five, with no way to provide for her youngest child – let alone her baby on the way.
Malnutrition is preventable and even severe malnutrition is treatable. I thought I should contribute to that.”Indra Kshetri
Though her situation was dire, a screening by Helen Keller brought the family’s situation to the attention of care providers, who were then able to intervene. Her story serves as a reminder that screenings work – If identified and treated earlier, even the most severe cases can be brought back from the brink.
Helen Keller, Indra and his colleagues are committed to improving the lives of the vulnerable by combating the causes and consequences of poor health and malnutrition. “As I grew up, I knew that malnutrition is preventable and even severe malnutrition is treatable. I thought I should contribute to that. And now I’m actually doing it. And I feel really proud of it.”