Africa had an estimated 200 million children and adults that were under nourished according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of United Nations (The State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2003). Malnutrition is the reason for 55% deaths of children under 5 years of age globally. Out of 2.9 million deaths annually in Africa, approximately 0.1 million were as a result of malnourishment (Benson & Shekar). Several statistics are available that show the severity of poor nourishment and to what extent is it prevalent in the world today.
According to UNICEF, millions of people Worldwide suffer from varying degrees of brain damages and stunted growth due to different deficiencies. In Sub-Saharan Africa, every third child is underweight and about 20% are found to be stunted (Bekele, 1998).
According to research, proper nutrition is a major determinant of a child’s growth starting from as early as the intrauterine period. when the child is in the womb of the mother. Therefore, proper intake of nutrients begins before birth with the mother who bears the child. It is essential for the mother to take a nutritionally balanced diet which has a direct impact on the child’s growth and development. Absence of proper nutrition intake during pregnancy can have a permanent and irreversible impact on the child. Therefore, breast- feeding determines a major chunk of child’s cognitive and other development per se. If the mother herself does not take a healthy diet, it is going to effect the child’s growth negatively. Iron being an important part of brain tissue determines the speed of nerve impulses. which means deficiency of iron in the infancy period is likely to cause permanent damage to brain cells. This results in poor motor skills and abnormalities in behavior.