The increase in malnutrition arising due to the coronavirus pandemic is expected to cause nearly 170,000 additional child deaths in the next two years.
This pandemic has created a fatal cycle: malnourished people are at a higher risk of death or hospitalisation from COVID-19, and the lockdown measures necessary to tackle the virus make it more difficult for people to access healthcare facilities and proper food, thus pushing them closer to malnutrition.
Since nutrition underpins all of human flourishing, people in these regions are also under great economic, social, environmental and health strains, and may sink deeper into poverty as a result. Both COVID-19 and malnutrition have intense, long-term impacts, and challenge our ability to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). They are emergencies in the short and long term.
To avoid this food crisis spiralling out of control, actions to prevent malnutrition must be adopted as an essential part of any COVID-19 response.