Child malnutrition and COVID-19: the time to act is now

Henrietta H Fore, Qu Dongyu, David M Beasley, Tedros A Ghebreyesus - The Lancet

This comment piece from the Lancet describes the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's nutrition, noting that vulnerable families, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) are struggling to access the food and services they need in the context of an economic downturn.

The authors issue "a call for action to protect children's right to nutrition in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This requires a swift response and investments from governments, donors, the private sector, and the UN." The comment outlines five actions to be taken and tracked immediately: 

  • Safeguard and promote access to nutritious, safe, and affordable diets

  • Invest in improving maternal and child nutrition through pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood

  • Re-activate and scale up services for the early detection and treatment of child wasting

  • Maintain the provision of nutritious and safe school meals for vulnerable children

  • Expand social protection to safeguard access to nutritious diets and essential services