As acute malnutrition threatens the lives of millions of vulnerable children

Acute malnutrition

Acute malnutrition, often known as wasting, affects more than 30 million children in the 15 countries that are most severely affected. Severe wasting, the deadliest form of undernutrition, affects 8 million of these children. This poses a serious risk to children’s lives, long-term health, and development, and it has an effect on every person, every community, and every nation.

The 15 nations that are being affected the worst by an unprecedented food and nutrition crisis are being urged by United Nations agencies to take immediate action to protect the most vulnerable children.

A growing proportion of children are very underweight, and access to vital health, nutrition, and other life-saving services is declining as a result of conflict, climate shocks, COVID-19’s continuing effects, and rising living costs.

Five UN organizations — the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UNHCR, UNICEF, World Food Program (WFP), and World Health Organization – have responded (WHO)- are urging for the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting to move more quickly.

In the most severely impacted nations, which include Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen, it strives to prevent, detect, and treat acute malnutrition in children.

The Global Action Plan emphasizes key efforts for mother and child nutrition through the food, health, water and sanitation, and social protection sectors and recognizes the need for a multi-sectoral approach.

The UN agencies have selected five key activities that will be successful in addressing acute malnutrition in nations afflicted by conflict and natural catastrophes as well as in humanitarian emergencies in response to rising requirements. In order to prevent and treat pediatric acute malnutrition and prevent a terrible loss of life, it will be essential to scale up these interventions as a cohesive group.

In order to keep this crisis from turning into a tragedy for the world’s most vulnerable children, the UN agencies need prompt and urgent action. Before it’s too late, all organizations call for increased funding to assist a coordinated UN response that will meet the tremendous demands of this escalating catastrophe.

According to Qu Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, this situation is projected to get worse even further in 2023.

“We must make sure that young children, girls, and pregnant and nursing women can obtain, afford, and consume healthful diets. We must take immediate measures to save lives and combat the underlying causes of acute malnutrition by collaborating across all sectors, added Qu.

The UN Global Action Plan on Child Wasting is our collective effort to prevent, detect, and cure wasting worldwide. The UN system is reacting to this catastrophe as one. In order to reach children who are most at risk, including those who are internally displaced and refugees, UNHCR is working hard to improve analysis and targeting. High Commissioner of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (UNHCR). Millions of youngsters are being squandered as a result of the cascading problems of today, and their access to essential services has been hampered. Wasting hurts the infant and, in extreme situations, might result in death or long-term harm to their growth and development. Through tested methods to stop, spot, and treat child wasting early on, we can and must reverse this nutrition disaster. Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund Catherine Russell (UNICEF)

“In the 15 worst-affected nations, more than 30 million children suffer from acute malnutrition, therefore we must act quickly and together. We must work together to make social safety nets and food aid stronger so that women and children can access specialized nutritious foods when they most need them. World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley (WFP)

As the director-general of the World Health Organization, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated, “The global food crisis is also a health catastrophe, and it is a vicious cycle: malnutrition leads to disease, and sickness leads to malnutrition” (WHO).

“The most severely affected nations urgently require assistance to safeguard the lives and health of children, including guaranteeing crucial access to nutritious meals and nutrition services, especially for women and children.”

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