USAID Administrator Samantha Power took a historic step forward in the fight against global malnutrition by announcing a US$200 million contribution to UNICEF to combat the deadliest form of malnutrition, child wasting. The Administrator was joined by philanthropist Sir Chris Hohn, the CRI Foundation (CRI), The Eleanor Crook Foundation (ECF), and The ELMA Relief Foundation who collectively committed at least an additional US$50 million in philanthropic resources to bring life-saving care to severely malnourished children around the globe.
Soaring food prices driven by the war in Ukraine, climate change shocks, conflict and the ongoing socio-economic impact of COVID-19 continue to drive up child wasting worldwide. Sustainably addressing wasting will require expanded and continued investment from all stakeholders. Participating philanthropies also committed to raising at least US$50 million more, to reach a target of US$100 million of their collective resources to address this growing crisis.
In the lead-up to the 2022 UN General Assembly in September, USAID Administrator Power encouraged other bilateral donors, corporations, and country governments to come to the table with US$200 million in additional contributions, targeting a total of US$500 million in public-private investments. UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell joined the call on all donors to deliver both increased and sustained investment in wasting treatment for as long as it takes to turn the tide on this long-standing public health emergency.
Child wasting is the deadliest form of malnutrition, but it is treatable in the form of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF). These newly announced investments will drive more than a 50 percent increase in the provision of RUTF, the largest single expansion in treatment coverage in history, and help UNICEF scale up treatment of wasting for an additional 2.4 million children. Consisting mostly of peanuts, milk powder, and a blend of micronutrients, RUTF can bring a severely malnourished child back to health in a matter of weeks, for less than $1 a day. RUTF is among the most proven and cost-effective child survival interventions, and yet for many years, fewer than 1 in 4 severely malnourished children have had access to treatment.
USAID, UNICEF, the Eleanor Crook Foundation, The ELMA Relief Foundation, The CRI Foundation, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation are calling on partners to join this effort by bringing additional, new resources to ensure wasting treatment is available to any child who needs it, and that efforts to prevent this deadly condition are expanded across high-risk communities. Together with others, the U.S. government will fortify the fight against severe malnutrition now and for years to come.
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