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The African Food System and Its Interactions with Human Health and Nutrition

Hunger, malnutrition, poor health, and deficient food systems are widespread in Sub-Saharan Africa. While much is known about African food systems and about African health and nutrition, our understanding of the interaction between food systems and health and nutrition is deficient. Moreover, the potential health gains from changes in the food system are frequently overlooked in policy design and implementation.

The authors of The African Food System and its Interactions with Human Health and Nutrition examine how public policy and research aimed at the food system and its interaction with human health and nutrition can improve the well-being of Africans and help achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Several of the MDGs focus on health-related challenges: hunger alleviation; maternal, infant, and child mortality; the control of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria; and the provision of safe water and improved sanitation. These challenges are intensified by problems of low agricultural and food system productivity, gender inequity, lack of basic infrastructure, and environmental degradation, all of which have direct and indirect detrimental effects on health, nutrition, and the food system.

Reflecting the complexity and multidisciplinary nature of these problems and their solutions, this book features contributions by world-renowned experts in economics, agriculture, health, nutrition, food science, and demography.

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The Socioeconomic Dimensions of HIV/AIDS in Africa

Challenges, Opportunities, and Misconceptions

Since the 1980s HIV/AIDS has occupied a singular position because of the rapidly emergent threat and devastation the disease has caused, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. New infections continue to create a formidable challenge to households, communities, and health systems: last year alone, 2.7 million new infections occurred globally. Sub-Saharan Africa remains the epicenter of the suffering, with around two-thirds of infected individuals worldwide found there, and a disproportionate number of deaths and new infections.

For years there have been widespread and concerted efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, identify a cure, and understand and mitigate the deleterious social and economic ramifications of the disease. Despite these efforts, and some apparent successes, there is still a long way to go in terms of altering behaviors in order to realize the objective of dramatic reductions in the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. The authors in this volume examine the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, which persists despite major strides in averting deaths due to antiretroviral therapy. They tell an important story of the distinct nature of the disease and its socioeconomic implications.

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