ASHENEWS reports that the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom says that an estimated one million children die annually due to wasting.
The WHO DG stated this while speaking on Monday at the ongoing Global Food Summit being held in London.
The WHO DG expressed concerns that the world was a long way away from reaching its target of eliminating hunger and other forms of malnutrition by 2030 as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“45 million children under five in our world, which is 1 in 15 are wasted meaning they are dangerously thin for their health.
“More than one-third of these children, nearly 14 million have the most severe form of wasting with the greatest risk of dying.”
According to him, statistics show that a child with moderate or severe wasting is 11 times more likely to die than a child with no malnutrition.
“By the time we have finished our meeting today, about 900 children will have died because they don’t have food or care, children whose life only just began,” he said.
The WHO DG linked the increased risk of hunger and famine to poverty, rising food prices, inadequate access to healthcare, a lack of water, sanitation, and hygiene facilities, conflict, climate disasters, natural disasters, as well as resource depletion.
He also highlighted maternal health as a risk source of malnutrition.
“Poor maternal nutrition impairs fetal development and contributes to low birth weight, wasting, and poor growth.”
In the long term, he said that children who survive from malnutrition risk being stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty and ill health.
He also added that while severe acute malnutrition is treatable, most of the children can’t access healthcare, leading to deaths that are ‘predictable and preventable.’