Poor, insufficient diet and malnutrition are among the global healthcare and socioeconomic crises. Despite many advances in science and technology, particularly in healthcare, the global logistic infrastructure must reverse this trend.
The Cyber-Physical Human System can shed the global health equity and poverty crisis by creating a hybrid (In-person / Virtual) system that facilitates real-time coordinated interaction between stakeholders and technology.
The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic made the already drowning state of food security even worse. The Russian Ukrainian crisis followed added an extra layer to the surging poverty tide.
Based on a report from UNICEF, 2021 saw a sharp increase in malnutrition and dietary deficiency of 828 million from the year before. According to the agency, severe food insecurity comprised 11.7% of the world's population. The report was the reflection of 112 million people who had no access to safe, healthy, and enough food. That made the total number reach close to 3.1 billion.
Today almost 45 million children under five are suffering from wasting disease. About 149 million have nutritionally related stunted growth and developmental issues. That and maternal anemia continue to alarm global healthcare and socioeconomic harmony.
Since the low and lower-middle-income economies endure a significant portion of malnourished people, thus resulting other diseases also grow among that population.
The Global Hunger and Malnutrition is More about Food Maldistribution
According to the World Food Program, our planet has more than enough food to feed everyone. However, despite that reality, one-third of the global food goes to bitter waste in the kitchens before they make it to the consumer's table.
Roughly 1 trillion dollars' worth of food goes to waste every year in the form of damaged grub while proceeding through the supply chain to reach consumers. That alarms us all to find a way to reverse the loss, which, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (AGO), would feed almost 2 billion people or twice the number of malnourished.
Transforming the Food Supply Chain Marks the Start of the Fight Against Food Shortage and Poverty
The first and foremost solution to alleviate poverty and increase access to nutrition is stimulating economic growth in conjunction with macroeconomic management. Furthermore, it requires robust governance. Only then can one expect sustainable and socially inclusive development supported by technology.
When we talk about technology, that only sometimes points to the entire physical logistic infrastructure like transportation, clean water, and education. However, modern logistics today also embraces digital information and operations planning and execution infrastructure.
Indeed, proper logistics will help reduce food shortage, enhance health equity, and reduce food waste footprint, which accounts for around 3.3 billion tons of Co2 released into the atmosphere annually. It will reduce water waste volume, loss of agricultural lands, harmful methane gas emission from landfills, and direct economic consequences associated with food waste.
Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and agricultural imaging using drones play significant roles in implementing the solutions mentioned. That includes real-time temperature, humidity, location, and food sourcing monitoring.
Furthermore, flawless data integration across the supply chain stakeholders facilitates cost savings and efficient food distribution.
Accessibility and connectivity are the major players in the cause of poverty and malnutrition. Lack of the latter necessities contributes to socioeconomic scares and health inequity.
Food shortage, malnutrition, poverty, and health inequity are interrelated, as one does not go without the other. Therefore addressing the said problem rests in the continual understanding of a particular communities socioeconomic needs.
To crack the global poverty and malnutrition code, one must first detect, recognize, and analyze the cause of those problems. Then they can overcome them through education, guidance, opportunity, and empowerment.
Empowering people will achieve poverty eradication, social integration, and employment integration. Thus, it will stimulate the local economies and pave the footpath for socioeconomic and health prosperity. Furthermore, It demands fostering economic resilience through an integrated, collaborative, and open network.
Today's people empowerment and economic resilience require robust information and communication technology that is agile, real-time, hybrid, decentralized, and collaborative.
Cyber-Physical Human System (CPHS) is the network of humans, sensors, and devices in a cyber system. The system allows all participants and stakeholders to plug in and collaborate in real-time to empower everyone.
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