In April the WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank launched the 2019 edition of the Joint Child Malnutrition Estimates. The Joint Estimates, released each year, use country-level data sets comprised of estimates from nationally representative household surveys, to report on child stunting, overweight, underweight, wasting and severe wasting. The numbers show a worrying trend in the prevalence of wasting in children under five.
There were an estimated 49.5 million children under-five with wasting in 2018. This has barely budged from an estimated 52 million in 2011. These numbers now show that 7.3 percent of children around the globe are at a disadvantage. Malnourished children are up to 11 times more likely to die, their cognitive and physical development is detrimentally affected, and they remain in a vicious cycle of vulnerability that no child deserves.
These new estimates show that we are far off from the progress needed to achieve the World Health Assembly target of reaching and maintaining five percent of children under-five by 2025. We must increase our efforts if we are to fulfil our promise to the world’s children.
No Wasted Lives envisions a world where no child suffers or dies from wasting. We can and must do more to achieve this, and we must do it together. The solutions to change the course of malnutrition in all of its forms and for all children are at our fingertips. No Wasted Lives and our partners are determined to scale up wasting prevention and treatment action by increasing awareness, treatment, investment and policy commitment, in order to set the world on a trajectory to meet our global targets for wasting.
Image: Doctors in North Pokot, Kenya, carry out integrated maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition outreach screening. © Lys Arango for Action Against Hunger 2018