COVID-19 is threatening food supplies, livelihoods and economic stability. These disruptions, alongside a decline in essential services, risk a spiral of preventable illness and mortality. Failure to act now will result in serious consequences for Sub-Saharan African and South Asian countries, aggravating the cycle of undernutrition and eroding health and nutrition gains.
In countries with fragile food and health systems, COVID-19 and the strategies designed to limit its transmission are shattering the ability of millions of people to feed themselves and their families. Measures such as social distancing mean they will have to choose between obeying guidance and going hungry, or risk facing fines or even becoming infected. Reduced incomes will greatly expand the number of people at risk, with this vulnerability further increased by lowered food availability and rising food prices due to volatile food systems. Closure or reduced service provision in health facilities will lead to a decreased uptake of key services like antenatal care, as well as life-saving interventions including therapeutic feeding of severely malnourished children.
Working with our implementing partners, we are keeping our focus on nutrition while adapting our programmes to: