Why 2021 Must Be The Nutrition Year of Action in Africa
Africa is facing an increasingly complex range of interconnected challenges, impacting food and health systems and hindering progress made in fighting all forms of malnutrition. COVID-19 and climate change continue to stress global food systems, disrupting food production and supply chains, tipping millions more people into hunger in Africa and globally. Health systems are also under pressure, with concerns that nutrition may be further de-prioritised on the health agenda when it's evident that nutrition is central to building resilience. Without urgent action, the number of people suffering from hunger and all forms of malnutrition will continue to rise in 2021, with the poorest and most vulnerable being disproportionately affected. The Global Nutrition Report's Country Nutrition Profiles show that Africa has made progress towards reducing undernutrition, notably under-5 stunting, and adolescent and adult underweight. Good nutrition is a cornerstone of health and development and is related to improved child and maternal health, stronger immune systems, lower risk of non-communicable diseases, longevity, and higher productivity, amongst other benefits. Nutrition is key to enabling individuals, communities and countries to thrive and must be at the forefront of Africa's sustainable development agenda, writes Dr Renata Micha, Chair of the Independent Expert Group of the Global Nutrition Report and Research Associate Professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
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