Malnutrition in all forms is directly or indirectly responsible for approximately 3 million of the 6 million deaths of children under the age of 5 each year, making it one of the largest causes of child mortality. The impacts of malnutrition have been exacerbated further by the pandemic, with economic stresses and closure of school meal programs putting struggling families at greater risk of food insecurity.
Looking specifically at the physical impact on children under five years old, challenges related to COVID-19 are predicted to cause an additional 9.3 million victims of wasting, 2.6 million victims of stunting (much lower than normal growth rates for children, indicating chronic malnutrition), and 168,000 deaths due to malnutrition over the next three years alone.
Coupled with the agricultural challenges to food security associated with climate change, these factors are already increasing the likelihood and severity of malnutrition, particularly for women and children who are particularly vulnerable under present circumstances. The populous Asia-Pacific region is a particular concern; consider the issue of childhood malnutrition in Papua New Guinea and the ongoing nutrition crisis in Afghanistan.
Nutrition is, and always has been, a fundamental issue for Results. Internationally, Results had its origins in the movement to end hunger in the late 1970s. For years now, Results has concentrated on the nutrition of children in the earliest stages of life, with the goal of reducing stunting and wasting rates. Over the years, we have collaborated with key partners to call for Government support of nutrition and agricultural development in our region.
With 811 million people around the world struggling to find food, Results is committed to ensuring the Australian Government stand in global solidarity with the world's poorest nations. We encourage Australia to contribute to an established global partnership devoted to tackling malnutrition that particularly affect women and children (such as the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents).