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Re: What is the role of social relations and networks in household food security and nutrition?

Dr. Claudio Schuftan PHM, Viet Nam

1.  When we talk about HH FS, we too often forget HH fuel security and the issues of its physical and economic access and an issue of tremendous environmental consequences (firewood, charcoal).

2. More related to social relations and networks is what all online discussions so far have omitted. I refer to the 'care' element in the causality of malnutrition. It cannot be overemphasized that MN is an outcome of a pyramid of causation (UNICEF 1990). Three are the underlying causes, namely HH FS, care and access to health and sanitation. Addressing FS is necessary but not sufficient to influence the outcome!.  Well, care relates to the the mother's wellbeing during pregnancy and lactation, as well as to the mother/child binomium; and breastfeeding (the first food) is at the very center with much more than its nutritional importance including all aspects of bonding: and that is related to social networks [family support (husband and extended family), lactation legislation (maternity leave and creches)]. Networks are also involved, especially existing networks of women promoting breastfeeeding (WABA, La Leche League, etc). Issues of alleviating the mother's chores during pregnancy and lactation should also be kept in mind; the role of the husband being crucial.

Bottom line, these issues are key to HH FS and are clearly some of its important determinants.