Somalilandsun: Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted. We, UNICEF, are saying that global wasting could spike to almost 54 million over the first 12 months of the crisis alone. This would bring global wasting to levels not seen this millennium. Such an increase in child malnutrition would translate into over 10,000 additional child deaths per month.
In addition to this piece, the heads of UNICEF, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the World Health Organization are also publishing a commentary to The Lancet report warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is undermining nutrition across the world particularly in low- and middle-income countries, with the worst consequences being borne by young children.
We hope that these estimates serve as a warning of how COVID-19 is overwhelming fragile nutrition systems in low- and middle-income countries and undermining many of the gains made over the last several decades in reducing child malnutrition. The impact is already showing in many countries. New data show that the number of children with severe acute malnutrition in Afghanistan has risen by 90,000 children since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, from an estimated 690,000 for 2020 in January to 780,000 in May 2020. In Afghanistan and Haiti, fear of infection and lack of protective equipment for health workers has led to an estimated 40 per cent and 73 per cent decline, respectively, in admissions to treat severe wasting in children. In Kenya, admissions dropped by 40 per cent.
In a report titled Impacts of COVID-19 on childhood malnutrition and nutrition-related mortality, UNICEF says that “unprecedented global social and economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic poses grave risks to the nutritional status and survival of young children in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Of particular concern is an expected increase in child malnutrition, including wasting, due to steep declines in household incomes, changes in the availability and affordability of nutritious foods, and interruptions to health, nutrition, and social protection services”
Read full report details below
Impacts of COVID-19 on childhood malnutrition and nutrition-related mortality
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