To protect the most vulnerable children in 15 countries hardest hit by an unprecedented food and nutrition crisis
Currently, more than 30 million children in the 15 worst-affected countries suffer from wasting or acute malnutrition and 8 million of these children are severely wasted, the deadliest form of undernutrition. This is a major threat to children’s lives and to their long-term health and development, the impacts of which are felt by individuals, their communities and their countries.
In response, five UN agencies – the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) – are calling for accelerated progress on the Global Action Plan on Child Wasting. It aims to prevent, detect and treat acute malnutrition among children in the worst-affected countries, which are Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, the Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.
The Global Action Plan addresses the need for a multi-sectoral approach and highlights priority actions across maternal and child nutrition through the food, health, water and sanitation, and social protection systems. In response to increasing needs, the UN agencies identified five priority actions that will be effective in addressing acute malnutrition in countries affected by conflict and natural disasters and in humanitarian emergencies.
The priority actions include Enhancing analysis of the determinants of child wasting; Ensuring essential maternal and child nutrition interventions; . Increasing availability, affordability and access to healthy diets; Introducing specialised nutritious food products; and Fostering a protective environment by ensuring joint nutrition. Scaling up these actions as a coordinated package will be critical for preventing and treating acute malnutrition in children, and averting a tragic loss of life.