Maternal malnutrition rises by 25% in crisis-affected countries

Malnutrition is a condition that can increase the risk of life-threatening complications for women during pregnancy and childbirth, with repercussions for their children.

The number of adolescents and pregnant and lactating women suffering from acute malnutrition has increased by 25% since 2020, from 5.5 million to 6.9 million.

The number includes women from the 12 countries most affected by the current food and nutrition crisis that is shaking the world, according to a new report published on March 7 by UNICEF.

The document is titled “Undernourished and Forgotten: A Global Nutrition Crisis for Adolescent Girls and Women” and was published on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

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According to this study, the countries most affected by the current crisis are Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen.

Malnutrition aggravated by gender inequality

In these countries, the current disturbances, compounded by persistent gender inequality, are exacerbating a nutritional crisis among adolescents and women that has manifested itself since the last two decades.

More than 1 billion girls and adolescent women suffer from malnutrition, deficiency of essential micronutrients and anemia, a situation that has devastating repercussions on their lives, says the report.

This situation, it is added, can weaken your immunity, reduce your cognitive development and increase the risk of fatal complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

This, in turn, can have dangerous and irreversible consequences for their children’s survival, growth, learning and future earning capacity.

“Without urgent action by the international community, the consequences could last for generations to come,” warns Catherine Russell, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

In this sense, the report warns of the need to prioritize the access of adolescents and women to nutritious, safe and affordable foods and protect them from ultra-processed foods.

They also recommend expanding access to social protection programs for this sector, through cash transfers and vouchers to improve access to nutritious and varied food.

As well as eliminating discriminatory social and gender norms such as child marriage and the unequal distribution of food, household resources, income and housework.

You can download the report by clicking on here


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