Well-nourished women are healthier; they also have safer pregnancies and deliver healthier babies – protecting their lives and the lives and futures of their infants.
As the world approaches 2030, the timeline for achieving the ‘Zero Hunger’ target of the Sustainable Development Goals keeps widening. The unprecedented challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with climate change and the impact of ongoing conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, have exacerbated the global malnutrition crisis and jeopardized years of hard-won development gains. Increasingly high levels of food insecurity in the target countries has exacerbated the susceptibility of women and adolescent girls to various forms of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as early and unwanted pregnancies. These factors contribute to a significant number of adolescent girls dropping out of school, which prevents them from reaching their potential and improving food and nutrition security for themselves, their families and their communities.
The situational analysis of REACTS-IN target countries revealed that these interrelated crises are projected to drive millions of people into high levels of acute, moderate and severe food insecurity across all four countries. In Kenya, approximately 942,000 children aged 6-59 months are affected by acute malnutrition, while a further 134,000 pregnant or lactating women urgently require treatment for acute malnutrition. Likewise, in Somalia, as of May 2022, an estimated 1.5M children under five, representing 45% of the total population of children, face acute malnutrition, including 386,400 who are likely to be severely malnourished. Furthermore, anaemia is a major public health problem in all target countries, with prevalence rates of 43.1%, 42.8%, 51.8% and 56.1% among children under five in Bangladesh, Kenya, Somalia and Tanzania respectively.