Healthy Hat Trick
UNICEF and the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) have hit a winning stroke by launching the Healthy Hat Trick - a collaboration to develop initiatives aimed at promoting good nutrition, improved sanitation and the recognition that educated girls are fundamental to the health of families.
Why the focus on good nutrition, improved sanitation and girls education?
- South Asia has the highest rate of child malnutrition in the world with 41 percent of all children under five being undernourished.
- South Asia carries the bulk of undernourished children - three times more underweight children are in South Asia than in all Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America combined.
- South Asia has one of the worst sanitation rates in the world - 45 percent or 720 million - of the population are forced to practice open defecation because they lack access to toilets.
- Ironically there are now more South Asians with mobile phones - 768 million - than with toilets.
- It's estimated that 70 percent of adolescents girls in South Asia are out of school. Only in Sri Lanka and Maldives is the literacy rate between men and women equal.
- Study after study shows that an educated women is five times more likely to have healthy, educated children which means more productive adults that in turn translate into economic growth. Educating girls is a good investment for any country. Sri Lanka is proof of this.