London, June 9 (IANS) Microsoft founder Bill Gates has praised Britain for tackling child hunger across the world, as the government committed 655 million pounds over the next six years to save millions of kids from malnutrition.
The Guardian daily said Gates’s comments came after an announcement by International Development Minister Justine Greening, who said the money would save the lives of 1.7 million children under five years.
A recent report by The Lancet said nearly half of the deaths of children under fives – 3.1 million – each year were principally caused by malnutrition.
Hunger campaigners welcomed the announcement.
David Bull, spokesman for campaign group Enough Food For Everyone IF, said it was a “turning point in tackling what is the biggest killer of children worldwide”.
Hollywood director Danny Boyle said ending world hunger would be “the greatest gold medal Britain could win in 2013”.
Government officials said the fund will be spent on educating mothers, especially about breastfeeding, and the provision of food fortified with micronutrients and vitamins to mothers and young children.
The programmes aim to reduce by 20 million the total of 165 million children currently damaged by under-nutrition.
Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain would “lead from the front” on world hunger.