This morning I headed to the Millennium Hotel near the United Nations to hear a very special talk co-hosted by Save the Children in support of the U.N. Secretary General’s Every Woman Every Child movement for maternal, newborn and child health with a group of other bloggers from MamaDrama. The session was empowering as we heard from leaders in the movement to eliminate hunger from around the world.
The breakfast and discussion were being held to launch a new global report “A Life Free from Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition,” marking a critically important year for nutrition. The global launch is taking place in partnership with organizations around the world to ensure that governments, international agencies, civil society, business and the media respond to the hidden crisis of chronic malnutrition, which kills 2 million children a year and has left 170 million children under age 5 stunted.
Every hour of every day, 300 children die because of malnutrition. The good news? This crisis is solvable. Here are some of the pieces from the presentation and report:
- Chronic malnutrition is preventable, but remains deadlier and more widespread than food scarcity.
- Almost half a billion children are at risk of permanent damage in the next 15 years.
- Chronic malnutrition, or a lack of proper nutrition over time, is deadlier and far more widespread than the short-term acute malnutrition frequently seen during food crises.
- Chronic malnutrition weakens young children’s immune systems, leaving them far more likely to die of childhood diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria. It leads to 2 million child deaths a year, three times as many as result from acute malnutrition.
- Malnutrition underlies 2.6 million child deaths every year, or one third of all child deaths.
It was shocking to hear that malnutrition is hidden, it is everywhere. The world has enough nutritious food to feed these children, and together we must ensure that every woman and child has enough to eat.
Despite these horrific numbers and statistics, the report calls for for action on proven solutions that would prevent these deaths and help all children affected by hunger and malnutrition. Many expect President Obama will again address food security when he hosts this spring’s G8 meeting in Chicago. Save the Children is calling on the G8 to extend food security funding at current levels for three years while including greater focus on nutrition. They also talked about interventions such asencouraging breastfeeding to avoid contaminated water, proper introduction of varied foods for infants, fortification of basic staples and vitamin supplementation.
If the world fails to act and the current rate of progress of reducing chronic malnutrition continues at less than 1 percent a year, 450 million children will be affected in the next 15 years.
What can you do to help? You’re invited to join Save the Children for their annual Advocacy Summit and help fight child hunger. Don’t miss your chance to help change policies to make the world a better place for children. You can donate to Save the Children to help make a difference. But the easiest thing to do?Follow @SavetheChildren on Twitter using hashtag #HiddenCrisis and on Facebook.