Le lien de vie maternel

ISLAMABAD – Le mois dernier, le Green Templeton College (GTC) de l’Université d’Oxford a tenu son Symposium sur les marchés émergeants à Egrove Park. Le thème de cette session était « Santé et alimentation de la mère et de l’enfant. » La dernière image présentée dans le cadre de la présentation inaugurale par Stephan Kennedy, membre du GTC, était un dessin montrant deux jeunes participants au départ d’une course : l’un était fort et en bonne santé, tandis que l’autre, émacié, limité, portait le poids de la maladie, confronté à la barrière massive de la malnutrition. Le message était clair : on ne naît pas avec les mêmes chances de réussite dans la vie.

Bien sûr, rien là de bien nouveau. L’impact des facteurs comme la pauvreté, l’alphabétisation maternelle, l’hygiène, et les conditions de logement sur la santé des enfants – et en retour, sur les avancées sociales et économiques – a fait l’objet de nombreuses études. Le problème est que ces facteurs ne se prêtent pas facilement à des interventions de santé publique isolées. Mais un autre déterminant peu étudié – la malnutrition maternelle – pourrait l’être.

Depuis Hippocrate, l’importance de l’interaction entre « nature » et « éducation » dans le développement humain n’a cessé d’être étudié. En effet, dans les civilisations anciennes, on estimait déjà qu’une alimentation maternelle appropriée était essentielle pour assurer la survie et la prospérité des générations futures. Mais la pauvreté et l’ignorance peuvent contrarier même les meilleures intentions.

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