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A recent survey shows that up to 50% of Somali women and girls are suffering from iron deficiency and Vitamin A deficiency. This is terrible news. Micro-nutrient deficiency has a wide range of consequences, including negative physical, developmental, and even mental ramifications. Physically, one can become blind from the lack of Vitamin A, a mineral that humans can obtain through animal sources. Studies done by the Rural Education Action Project (REAP) showed that elementary-aged children with anemia do poorly in school (disclaimer: I have been an intern at REAP). Children with micro-nutrient deficiency cannot properly develop, and adults with these deficiencies often cannot work efficiently.

Many people in Somali have diets that lack nutrients and also have tape worms that suck nutrients from them, but girls and women are even more likely to get anemia due to the loss of blood during the menstrual cycle. Not only does this put girls at a educational disadvantage to men, these micro-nutrient deficiency can have a terrible economical consequence on Somalia in the long run. With over half of women suffering from anemia and vitamin a deficiency, Somalia is at risk of losing 25% of its potential economic work force. Furthermore, when pregnant mothers have these deficiencies, it can seriously risk the health of her child. All in all, micro-nutrient deficiencies is a serious matter, and for the sake of the women in Somalia, much still has to be done.


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