Nutrition for Mothers & Children: Accelerating Progress Amid a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic is jeopardizing progress on malnutrition across many low- and middle-income countries, with infants and young children often suffering the worst consequences. Responses such as physical distancing, school closures, trade restrictions, and country lockdowns have disrupted the production, transport, and sale of nutritious and affordable foods, pushing millions of families toward nutrient-poor alternatives.

At the same time, oversaturated health systems are struggling to support children and mothers as already scarce resources are redirected toward the COVID-19 response. In addition, interrupted humanitarian response efforts are further limiting access to essential and life-saving nutrition services in many countries. In order to protect children from and treat children with various forms of malnutrition including wasting, it’s imperative that the global health community ramps up support to children and mothers in need — while ensuring that those at the last mile aren’t left behind.

In order to be truly equitable and effective, nutrition interventions must also target and reach children with underlying health conditions such as HIV, diabetes, cleft lip and palate, as well as persons living with disabilities and chronic diseases.

On Thursday, Sept. 23, Devex will host an ecosystem event on the sidelines of the 76th annual United Nations General Assembly in partnership with Smile Train, exploring what’s needed to gain back the ground lost due to the effects of the pandemic and then accelerate progress on nutrition outcomes while leaving no one behind.

Discussions will also highlight the need to build sustainable and locally led nutrition services to help build resilient health systems able to withstand a future pandemic, including ways to scale up services for the early detection and treatment of child wasting, as well as improving maternal and child nutrition throughout pregnancy, infancy, and early childhood.

This event will include live captioning.

Time: 1 p.m. ET | 7 p.m. CET

Location: Virtual

Date: Thursday, September 23, 2021