Il Filo Materno della Vita

ISLAMABAD – Il mese scorso, il Green Templeton College dell'Università di Oxford ha tenuto il suo annuale Simposio sui Mercati Emergenti a Egrove Park. Il tema di quest'anno è stato "la salute e la nutrizione materna e del bambino". La slide finale della presentazione di apertura, tenuta da Stephen Kennedy, membro del Green Templeton College, era un fumetto raffigurante due giovani concorrenti pronti a iniziare una gara: uno era forte e sano, mentre l'altro era emaciato, ammanettato, con in mano un bagaglio di malattia, e bloccato da una massiccia barriera di malnutrizione. Il messaggio era chiaro: non tutti iniziano la vita con le stesse possibilità di successo.

Naturalmente, questa non è un punto di vista innovativo. L'impatto di fattori come la povertà, l'alfabetizzazione materna, i servizi igienico-sanitari e le condizioni abitative sulla salute dei bambini - e, di conseguenza, sui risultati economici e sociali - è ben documentata. Il problema è che questi fattori non possono fare l'oggetto di isolati interventi di sanità pubblica. Ma un altro, meno ampiamente discusso determinante sociale - la nutrizione materna - potrebbe esserlo.

Dai tempi di Ippocrate, si discute di come la "natura" ed il "nutrire" interagiscono per modellare lo sviluppo di una persona. Infatti, anche nelle civiltà antiche, un'adeguata nutrizione materna era ritenuta essenziale per garantire la sopravvivenza e la prosperità delle generazioni future. Ma la povertà e l'ignoranza possono vanificare anche le migliori intenzioni.

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