8 November 2012

British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton has written about his time visiting a UNICEF project in India for the Huffington Post website.

Lewis witnessed first-hand the devastating effects of hunger on mothers and their babies in a country where over half the children under five are affected by malnutrition.

For some children, the effect of hunger can occur before they are even born.

Lewis visited the UNICEF funded newborn care unit in Shivpuri, where newborn children are taken for life-saving treatment. These babies are often born dangerously small and underweight because their mother didn't have enough to eat during her pregnancy.

Before the centre was set up by UNICEF, most of these children would have died at home, but now with the care that it provides their chance of survival is over 85%. 

The first 1,000 days of a child's life are vital. Without enough nutritious food during this time, children can be affected by stunting, an irreversible condition that affects both a child's mental and physical development. India accounts for a third of the world's children who suffer from this.

Community feeding centres, like the one visited by Lewis during his trip, are set up by UNICEF to help some of the most at risk by providing food to help a child grow and give them the best possible chance in life.

 
Lewis holds a newborn baby at the UNICEF care unit in Shivpuri, India. © Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNICEF/2012
Lewis holds a newborn baby at the UNICEF care unit in Shivpuri, India.© Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNICEF/2012
In India, nearly half of all children under five are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. UNICEF is trying to change this by providing food and health care for those in need. © Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNICEF/2012
In India, nearly half of all children under five are suffering from hunger and malnutrition. UNICEF is trying to change this by providing food and health care for those in need.© Prashanth Vishwanathan/UNICEF/2012

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