El hambre oculto de África

DAR ES SALAAM – Hace poco más de 20 años, el fotógrafo sudafricano Kevin Carter sorprendió al mundo con una fotografía polémica de un niño sudanés famélico vigilado de cerca por un buitre durante una hambruna. Los críticos vapulearon la toma por considerarla "pornografía del desastre" y la definieron como un ejemplo más de cómo los medios internacionales recurren al sensacionalismo cuando abordan los problemas africanos.

Sin embargo, lo que me perturba no es la fotografía. Más bien es el hecho de que dos décadas después, las condiciones que muestra la fotografía siguen prácticamente intactas. Cada año, 3,1 millones de niños continúan muriendo de hambre en todo el mundo.

Como médico africano, sé que los estragos de la desnutrición y el hambre agudos no siempre son visibles. No siempre son tan evidentes como en las costillas que les sobresalen a niños fantasmales conectados a sondas nasogástricas, como los que solía ver en las salas hospitalarias de Tanzania.  La desnutrición crónica, o el "hambre oculto", se manifiesta de otras maneras -pero puede ser igualmente devastador y mortal-. Y mientras que las muertes causadas por muchas otras enfermedades, entre ellas la desnutrición aguda, han disminuido, el hambre oculto sigue siendo muy generalizado.

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