Maternal and Child Undernutrition Progress 2

Mobilising evidence, data, and resources to achieve global maternal and child undernutrition targets and the Sustainable Development Goals: an agenda for action

Rebecca A Heidkamp, Ellen Piwoz, Stuart Gillespie, Emily C Keats, Mary R D’Alimonte, Purnima Menon, Jai K Das, Augustin Flory, Jack W Clift, Marie T Ruel, Stephen Vosti, Jonathan Kweku Akuoku, Zulfiqar A Bhutta

Published: March 07, 2021 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00568-7

Informational source: The Lancet https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00568-7/fulltext

As the world counts down to the 2025 World Health Assembly nutrition targets and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, millions of women, children, and adolescents worldwide remain undernourished (underweight, stunted, and deficient in micronutrients), despite evidence on effective interventions and increasing political commitment to, and financial investment in, nutrition. The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled health systems, exacerbated household food insecurity, and reversed economic growth, which together could set back improvements in undernutrition across low-income and middle-income countries. This paper highlights how the evidence base for nutrition, health, food systems, social protection, and water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions has evolved since the 2013 Lancet Series on maternal and child nutrition and identifies the priority actions needed to regain and accelerate progress within the next decade. Policies and interventions targeting the first 1000 days of life, including some newly identified since 2013, require renewed commitment, implementation research, and increased funding from both domestic and global actors. A new body of evidence from national and state-level success stories in stunting reduction reinforces the crucial importance of multisectoral actions to address the underlying determinants of undernutrition and identifies key features of enabling political environments. To support these actions, well-resourced nutrition data and information systems are essential. The paper concludes with a call to action for the 2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit to unite global and national nutrition stakeholders around common priorities to tackle a large, unfinished undernutrition agenda—now amplified by the COVID-19 crisis.

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