UNICEF Report ‘Child Alert: Severe Wasting’

According to a new report that was released by UNICEF, an increasing number of children across the world are most likely to die from “severe wasting” due to skyrocketing price of life-saving treatments and food. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic along with climate change and the Russian invasion of Ukraine are causing the ongoing global food crisis.

What does the report say?

  • In the report titled “Child Alert”, UNICEF has highlighted that 6,00,000 more children across the globe will most probably be missing out on essential treatments. It also highlighted that the cost of raw materials that are used to produce ready-to-eat packs to bring the malnourished children back to health has risen by a 16% margin. Thus, UNICEF will be needing extra funding to cover the difference. The ready-to-eat packs contain high-energy therapeutic paste which is made from ingredients such as oil, peanuts, added nutrients, and sugar.
  • More children across the globe are most likely to be malnourished as global food prices are skyrocketing due to the Russia- Ukraine crisis.
  • The world is rapidly becoming a flashpoint of child deaths that are preventable and suffering of children due to wasting.
  • These high-energy paste packs are the difference between life and death for millions of children across the globe. A 16 percent increase in the price might sound manageable but for the malnourished child at the end of the scale, the stakes are not at all manageable.
  • The report highlighted that even before the war began, the number of children suffering across the globe due to severe wasting was already increasing.

What is the cost of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food?

The Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) is used to save children suffering from severe wasting. USD 100 is the total cost for treating a child with RUTF. The largest provider of RUTF across the globe is UNICEF.

What do you mean by severe wasting?

The most common and severe form of malnutrition is severe wasting. Due to severe wasting, the child’s immune system gets compromised as they suffer from repeated bouts of illness. Thus, any common illnesses faced by youngsters that are overcome normally would prove fatal for those suffering from severe wasting. At present, 13.5 million children across the globe aged five or less are suffering from it. The problem had already aggravated even before the war due to supply chain disruptions from COVID-induced shutdowns. According to the UNICE, 2 out of every 3 children who are severely malnourished lack access to RUTF. The governments have been urged by UNICEF to increase their aid to help children located in 23 countries with the “high burden” tag.



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