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Acute malnutrition is a major global public health threat.
At least 50 million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition (an extreme loss of weight that impairs health), and nearly 50% of under five deaths are driven by malnutrition. Acute malnutrition has been – and remains – highly treatable and preventable. Yet, despite the existence of life-saving treatment and two decades of work to reach those in need, current strategies reach less than 20% of affected children with care.
Today, on World Food Day, we are at a critical crossroads. We can choose to stay the course, leaving an estimated 80% of acutely malnourished children untreated. Or we can transform the system and save millions of lives.
The problem is four-fold:
We see these challenges every day in the countries and communities where we work. Political will and financial investment is urgently needed to address each of these barriers.
Action Against Hunger, a leading international humanitarian organizations working in some of the hardest to reach places, is calling on world leaders – from UN officials to Ministries of Health – to accelerate action toward a more effective, efficient and accessible treatment system that leaves no child behind.
We stand ready to work together to ensure that an ambitious Global Action Plan, time bound, and offers concrete steps for addressing the realities of the crisis; to hold leadership accountable to the commitments made; to continue strengthening our programs, strategies, and partnerships that put a premium on expanding access to both curative and preventative services; and to advocate with Ministries of Health and Finance to see these solutions adopted into national health and nutrition action plans and budgets.
Now is the time to turn good will into action and to give this neglected health issue the attention and resources it deserves and requires.