ACF: World Leaders Must Address Acute Malnutrition

Humanitarian organization calls for action on childhood condition during Food Summit
Action Against Hunger Nutrition Program in Mandera, Kenya, courtesy M. Francia

NEW YORK, NY—World leaders are failing to take sufficient action to combat childhood malnutrition, Action Against Hunger | ACF International warned today ahead of next week’s World Food Summit in Rome. The global humanitarian group urges governments assembling there to commit to reducing the five million annual deaths of children from acute malnutrition.

While governments have pledged to bolster agricultural production in developing countries, their focus on long-term solutions risks neglecting the immediate crisis of childhood malnutrition. Even though the deadliest forms of the condition can be treated effectively, less than 10 percent of the 19 million children with life-threatening severe acute malnutrition currently receive treatment.

“Until nutrition is prioritized alongside investments in agriculture, acute malnutrition will continue to claim the lives of millions of children,” said Nan Dale, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger. “With the economic recession and high food prices taking a devastating toll on the most vulnerable among us, now is the time for world leaders to take concrete steps to address this growing problem.” Action Against Hunger is urging world leaders meeting in Rome to prioritize nutrition as part of ongoing efforts to address global food insecurity by:

  1. Allocating specific funding to the detection, treatment and prevention of childhood malnutrition;
  2. Reflecting the importance of food safety nets in financial commitments. Safety nets help families afford a nutritious diet for their children and protect against shocks to food consumption;
  3. Creating international and national mechanisms to address malnutrition from a range of sectors, including agricultural development, health, water & sanitation, and nutrition; and
  4. Establishing an accountability mechanism to ensure commitments are leveraged into real action.

Joint Statement

Read Action Against Hunger's joint statement with other humanitarian groups calling on governments to prioritize childhood malnutrition at the World Food Summit.