Recently returned from visiting nutrition programmes in Asia and Africa, Steve Lewis, RESULTS Global Health Advocacy Manager, calls for increased efforts to end deaths from acute malnutrition.

A new coalition of development agencies is calling for child deaths from acute malnutrition to be ended. The Generation Nutrition report launched today shows that a shocking one in twelve children under five suffers from acute malnutrition, and 1 million children die every year as a result.


Many people associate acute malnutrition  with humanitarian disasters like famine in Ethiopia or the result of civil war in South Sudan. But when I travelled with MPs to Tanzania and Cambodia recently we could all see that malnutrition really is an ‘Everyday Emergency’. The new report makes clear that acute malnutrition does not only occur in humanitarian crises, but is most common in apparently stable settings. Therefore resources need to be targeted in these countries at extending prevention measures and increasing access to community-based management of the condition.

Acute malnutrition is not an unavoidable tragedy. We know how to treat acutely malnourished children so they survive and recover and we know how to prevent the condition from occurring in the first place. In as little as six weeks, a child can be back up on their feet again, with their whole life ahead of them.  I believe it’s time to stand up for children facing deadly hunger.

A narrow faith in economic growth to lift the poor out of poverty will not bring an end to everyday hunger. In Cambodia for example I learnt that there is economic growth of around 8% a year, and the country exports rice. Yet 40% of children are undernourished and this rate has hardly changed in the last ten years.

We are launching Generation Nutrition today to shine a spotlight on the 52 million children in the world suffering from acute malnutrition. In just a month it will be the first anniversary of the June 8th ‘Nutrition for Growth’ summit held in London  when large donors pledged new funds for nutrition programmes. RESULTS and other agencies want to see clear progress on spending the funds promised.

This is a key time for campaigning on undernutrition. Generation Nutrition is launched in the run up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 2015 deadline. In just over a year’s time every government worldwide will agree a new set of global goals on fighting poverty that will shape priorities for the next 15 years.  We are launching a global petition calling on world leaders to prioritise tackling child malnutrition as part of the ‘post-2015’ targets. We will be presenting  recommendations to world leaders at the United Nations in September  as negotiations involving every nation on earth begin.

We need your active support if the world is to take notice of this hidden emergency. Take action now and join Generation Nutrition. This petition is just a first step as a we build a movement to end the scandal of child deaths from acute malnutiriton.

If we work together with persistence and commitment, I firmly believe that we can be the generation to see an end to acute malnutrition in our lifetime.