The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), yesterday said over 15.4 million children would suffer acute malnutrition if adequate measures are not put in place.
The United Nations Agencies said cases of acute malnutrition in children under five years are expected in 2020 in West and Central Africa.
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According to an analysis of the combined impact of food insecurity and COVID-19 on acute malnutrition in 19 countries of the region, this estimate represents a 20 per cent increase from earlier estimates, in January 2020.
Conflict and armed violence have led to massive population displacements and drastically limited access to basic social services, leading to the rise in child malnutrition.
“Children suffering from severe acute malnutrition are at higher risk of COVID-19-related complications. Whereas, good nutrition for children, starting from their early days, protects them against illnesses and infections, and supports their recovery when they become ill,” said Marie-Pierre Poirier, UNICEF Regional Director for West and Central Africa.
WFP Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Chris Nikoi said thousands of families will be unable to provide their children with the nutritious food needed for their proper growth and development adding that we must work together to improve access to nutritious foods and ensure that there are strong preventive actions that protect children from falling into the vicious trap of malnutrition and sickness.