Maternal and Child Nutrition Expert Speaks at Development Research Week

Posted on: 12 November 2013

A lecture by maternal and child nutrition expert Professor Robert Black was among highlights of Development Research Week organised by the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) recently.

The annual Development Research Week seeks to raise the profile of Irish and international development research. During the week TIDI hosted a series of events in collaboration with researchers and students from Trinity and other education institutes, as well as NGOs, to highlight development research and its application across a range of topics.

Professor Robert Black, editor and leading author of the influential Lancet series on Maternal and Child Nutrition, told an audience of academics, researchers, development workers, policy-makers, practitioners and student that good nutrition is crucial to both individual and national development and a fundamental driver of a wide range of development goals. The event was hosted in association with Concern Worldwide, Irish Aid and DSA Ireland.

Professor Black, Professor in International Health at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, focused on his research into the nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive evidence-based interventions to reduce undernutrition in mothers and young children.  The World Health Organization estimates that two-thirds of the nearly seven million child deaths in developing countries each year are directly caused by infectious diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria and that undernutrition contributes to 45% of these deaths.

His work has stimulated a great increase in political commitment to the reduction of undernutrition at global and national level. In Ireland, his work has been to the forefront of this with Concern Worldwide and Irish Aid providing leadership to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement.

Speaking about the seminar, Professor Martina Hennessy, Chair of TIDI at Trinity College Dublin said: “This public event is part of a weeklong series of events organised by TIDI looking at development challenges across the biomedical sciences, nutrition, economics, technology and human rights. The seminar has broadened our understanding of maternal and child health in the developing world and the challenges in creating a health system that can support the wellbeing of mothers and children within vulnerable societies.”

A public talk entitled Tax and development: The Implications of Tax Havens by Professor Frank Barry, Professor of International Business and Development at Trinity, was among other highlights of the research week.

Focusing on the aggressive tax practices of multinational corporations, Professor Barry explored the financial architecture that multinational corporations construct in order to avoid taxation with specific focus on the developing world.

Sorley McCaughey, Head of Advocacy & Policy, Christian Aid, responded to Professor Barry’s paper, discussing the work and research of Christian Aid and what are the key issues associated with multinational corporations not paying full taxes on profits.  Barrister Niall O’Hanlon also responded to Professor Barry’s paper and looked at the legal aspects relating to multinational corporations not fulfilling their tax obligations.

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