Month: December 2021

Community Statement on Administrator Samantha Power’s Remarks at the Nutrition for Growth Summit on December 7th, 2021

As organizations committed to ending hunger and improving global health, we echo the Biden Administration’s belief that “By investing in nutrition programs, applying the evidence of what works, and adapting quickly, we can prevent child malnutrition even in the time of COVID, and we can build a healthier world for everyone.”

We commend the U.S. Government’s continued global leadership to combat malnutrition and the commitment that Administrator Power announced to invest up to $11 billion, including $3 billion directed to anticipated humanitarian needs, over the next three years. We look forward to seeing a detailed accounting of the $11 billion by account and fiscal year and hope that this commitment includes new resources outside of existing programs that are working hard to address the skyrocketing food insecurity and nutrition needs around the world. We are grateful to the U.S. Government for bringing much-needed attention to the malnutrition crisis globally. Strong nutrition funding, including new resources, are necessary to save lives and reduce economic impacts and productivity losses.

Eight years after the first Nutrition for Growth Summit, malnutrition remains one of the world’s most pressing but preventable problems. Globally, malnutrition is a leading driver of child death and disability, contributing to 45% of deaths in children under age 5. Rates of malnutrition are reaching nearly unprecedented levels due to the confluence of the COVID-19 pandemic, rising conflict, and the effects of climate change. Researchers warn that this could result in 283,000 more child deaths and an additional 13.6 million children suffering from wasting (low weight for height), the most deadly type of malnutrition. Despite these challenges, we wholeheartedly agree with Administrator Power’s statement that this is “not cause to throw up our hands, but cause to get to work.”

Nutrition programs not only save lives but are considered a best buy in global development. Programming that targets women and children during the critical 1,000 day window from pregnancy to age two offers one of the best returns on investment, with every $1 invested yielding up to $35 in economic returns. We have the proven, cost-effective solutions to save lives, but if we want to stop the growing malnutrition crisis, the U.S. Government will need to continue building on the momentum of today’s announcement, and further increase its funding for this essential investment.

We are thankful for the U.S. Government’s leadership and support to help vulnerable children and families around the world have the chance for a better future. We look forward to continuing to work together to address this critical issue.

1,000 Days
Action Against Hunger
Alliance to End Hunger
American Academy of Pediatrics
Bread for the World
Catholic Relief Services
Church World Service
Food for the Hungry
Global Communities
John Snow, Inc. (JSI)
Medical Impact
Micronutrient Forum
National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International
Save the Children
The Hunger Project
WaterAid America
World Vision US

The Nutrition Year of Action in Review: 5 Things that Give Us Hope

It’s easy to be pessimistic about the current state of global nutrition. Malnutrition still kills more kids in an average year than the population of Chicago, and leaves millions more with permanently stunted brain development and life-long health problems. COVID-related disruptions to food and health systems have exacerbated these numbers, with experts predicting that by the end of 2022 we’ll see an additional 13.6 million cases of wasting, the most deadly type of malnutrition. To top it all off, experts are now saying that we’ve been underestimating how much it will cost to reach our global nutrition targets, and that with the additional demand from the pandemic we now need to mobilize at least $10.8 billion every year just to stay on track.

On December 8, the 3rd Nutrition for Growth Summit wrapped up the 2021 Nutrition Year of Action, a pledging event that could not have come at a more urgent time. And despite all the challenges ahead, we want to take a moment to celebrate some of the things that give us hope as we conclude the Nutrition Year of Action and move into 2022. Here are our top five:

  1. Breadth and depth of high-burden country commitments

As N4G hosts, the Government of Japan created an inclusive environment that helped encourage and support governments to prepare bold commitments to accelerate progress on the nutritional issues in their countries. This support helped facilitate new commitments from 70 countries with a high burden of malnutrition. Commitments ranged from financial, policy, programmatic, and impact to cut across the five themes of the Summit: Health, Food, Resiliency, Financing, Data/Accountability. This is great news, in part because steadily increasing domestic resource mobilization is a key component of nutrition financing models toward the WHA targets. We are hopeful that the large number of new commitments from high-burden countries will help offset the rising cost of these interventions.

  1. New vehicles for innovative financing

Donors are increasingly turning to innovative financing mechanisms to fill funding gaps and leverage new funding streams. One great example is the Nutrition Match Fund launched this year by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The fund helps to mobilize domestic resources for nutrition by providing a 1-to-1 match for any money governments spend on essential tools to combat undernutrition such as purchasing ready-to-use therapeutic foods to treat wasting. The fund has unlocked nearly $4 million of incremental domestic resources, and is already attracting additional donor investment. We are hopeful that advancements like this one in nutrition supply financing will help prevent supply chain disruptions and offer one solution for the low coverage rates of many nutrition interventions.

  1. Progress on UN wasting treatment reform

An update to the UN’s wasting management protocols has been a long time coming. The reform process began in 2020 with the launch of the Global Action Plan (GAP) on Child Wasting. Though the GAP fell short of expectations in many ways, we are heartened by the steps the UN has taken to advance this work in 2021, including releasing operational country roadmaps for the GAP. Another step forward is the WHO and UNICEF’s ongoing evidence review to update global and national guidelines on wasting treatment. This review will reflect the growing evidence that there are simpler, cheaper, and more efficient ways to detect and treat wasting to open the door for reaching more children.

  1. Nutrition accountability at the forefront

One of the major outcomes from the 2021 Nutrition Year of Action is the launch of the Global Nutrition Report’s (GNR) Nutrition Accountability Framework (NAF). The NAF is the world’s first comprehensive accountability platform for nutrition, helping to ensure all commitment-makers put their promises into tangible action. Commitments must be SMART and align with national nutrition plans. The platform inspires bold and measurable commitments that drive progress on nutrition. At 1,000 Days, we believe holding ourselves and our leaders accountable is a crucial component of scaling evidence-based nutrition interventions.

  1. Renewed US leadership in the global nutrition space

In 2019 – the lead-up to the original 2020 N4G dates – the US was pulling back from international obligations and seemed unlikely to make any sort of substantial commitment at N4G. By December 2021, the US has not only publicly committed up to $11 billion over three years to combat global malnutrition, but sent USAID Administrator Power to make the announcement. The commitment builds on the Biden Administration’s repeated nods to the importance of good nutrition, especially in the wake of the pandemic. Though it is still unclear how the US will fulfill its financial commitment and how much (if any) of the $11 billion is new money, US commitments throughout the Nutrition Year of Action signal its plans to remain at the forefront of the fight against global malnutrition. As the sector’s largest donor, and in the face of a notable lack of commitment from the UK, US leadership will be a key component of any successful nutrition effort. As advocates continue to socialize the Nourish the Future proposal in 2022, the Administration’s demonstrated commitment to global nutrition is a welcome signal for more to come.

On top of these successes, we saw a host of other positive developments for nutrition, such as the addition of multiple micronutrients to the WHO Essential Medicines List, a growing adoption of the new OECD DAC nutrition policy marker, and the recent release of the Global Financing Facility’s Nutrition Roadmap. Ultimately, Summit participants from around the world pledged over $27 billion toward global nutrition at a time when donor fatigue is high and every country in the world is facing outsized domestic challenges. 2021 was a year of setbacks in our fight against malnutrition, but the new tools and resources coming out of the Nutrition Year of Action give us hope that the state of global nutrition will look better in 2022 and beyond.

5 Actions Governments Can Take to Help Children Suffering from Wasting

Every 11 seconds, a child dies from malnutrition. Over the course of a year, that means that more kids die from malnutrition than the population of Chicago. The COVID-19 pandemic is making these numbers worse. Wasting is the most deadly form of malnutrition, and experts estimate that pandemic-related disruptions are going to create 13.6 million additional cases of wasting by the end of 2022.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Governments can scale key nutrition interventions to stop this crisis from escalating further.

Not only is there already a suite of proven, cost-effective nutrition interventions ready to be scaled today, but researchers have also identified several promising new innovations to treat child wasting that help every dollar go further and save more children.

Kids who are already wasted need access to high-quality, reliable treatment in the form of ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF). Today, less than 25% of even the most life-threatening cases get any form of treatment, leaving the majority of wasted children with little hope of a full recovery. We need to do better to deliver this treatment to more kids, especially in hard-to-reach communities where last-mile service delivery is particularly critical.

However, there is also a lot we can do to make sure vulnerable kids don’t become wasted in the first place. To start, we can give children regular doses of vitamin A, support breastfeeding mothers, and make sure all pregnant women have the prenatal vitamins they need to have healthy pregnancies. We know that implementing these proven nutrition interventions at scale will reduce malnutrition rates. These interventions also come with an incredibly high return on investment, with leading economists consistently ranking nutrition interventions as some of the most cost-effective ways to save and improve lives around the world.

Governments have a critical role to play in addressing the wasting crisis. Governments are the backbone of the nutrition sector, ensuring solutions to global malnutrition are available, sustainable, widespread and locally appropriate. At the December 7-8  Nutrition for Growth summit, governments have the opportunity to make SMART commitments to address wasting and avert the worst effects of the pandemic. One of the most immediate things governments can do to reduce wasting rates is come to the stage at the Nutrition for Growth summit with measurable, ambitious financial pledges to scale the nutrition interventions that we know work. But funding alone will not solve this problem. We need to take steps to make limited resources go further. Here are five actions they can take:

  1. Work with UNICEF and other UN agencies to fund and implement the country-specific roadmaps for the Global Action Plan (or GAP) on child wasting.
    National governments have been key partners in developing robust Global Action Plan Country Roadmaps, and will be some of its primary implementers. In order to implement the GAP by 2030, governments around the world can set ambitious coverage targets for high-impact interventions and work with partners to execute their country’s roadmap and monitor their progress.
  2. Participate in WHO and UNICEF’s Guideline Review for child wasting prevention and treatment.
    WHO and UNICEF are currently reviewing and updating technical guidance on how to detect child wasting earlier and optimize the way it is treated. Once they have made  recommendations at the global level, they will focus on reviewing and revising national guidelines to reflect global updates. Governments can pledge to work with UNICEF and the WHO to revise their own national guidelines in line with the updated recommendations.
  3. Invest in innovative financing for wasting treatment
    Governments can engage with emerging opportunities to leverage innovative financing mechanisms to mobilize domestic resources. One recent example is the UNICEF-managed Nutrition Match Fund, which matches domestically mobilized spending on RUTF. Innovative financing can also help prevent supply chain disruptions by offering short term loans to cover temporary cash flow problems (for example, the nutrition window in the Vaccine Independence Initiative (VII)). Governments can also make sure they give implementers flexible funding for their wasting programming. This is important across development, humanitarian and fragile contexts. This flexible funding will help implementers in constantly evolving situations to stay adaptable and quickly direct resources where they need them most.
  4. Integrate wasting treatment services into existing health systems.
    One of the best ways to reach more kids with sustainable wasting treatment programs is to integrate treatment services into existing government-run health systems. Results 4 Development and UNICEF have recently released a detailed resource guide on how to do this. By pledging to develop and implement an integration plan, governments can ensure these programs outlast the life cycle of a single grant or program.
  5. Support ongoing research and innovation.
    In the past few years we have seen incredible advances in how to treat wasted kids more effectively for less money, but these innovations are just the beginning. Ending preventable child deaths from wasting will require ongoing research toward projects like finding a cheaper way to produce RUTF. In many cases, this research will involve identifying and building solutions to context-specific determinants and drivers of child wasting.

Nutrition for Growth is a chance to stand on the world stage and commit to ending malnutrition and preventable child deaths. Action begets action, and so every pledge does more than just fulfill its specific commitments. Pledges inspire other actors to join the movement, and build the momentum necessary to reach our ambitious goals.

As author and journalist Roger Thurow said, “A [malnourished] child anywhere in our world becomes a [malnourished] child everywhere — we all share in the cost of lower education, reduced labor productivity, and escalating health care costs. And perhaps, the greatest costs remain immeasurable — a poem never written, a song never sung, a story never told, a technology never invented, a cure never discovered, a horizon never explored.”

We have the building blocks we need to prevent these absences. All we need now is the will to act.

5 Things to Know About the New AJPH Call for Papers

The American Journal of Public Health (AJPH), in collaboration with 1,000 Days, intends to publish a special issue exploring the importance of the 1,000-day window from pregnancy to age 2 for maternal and child nutrition and health in the United States. 

Scheduled for publication in early November 2022, the supplement will highlight how policies, systems, and environments affect the nutrition of mothers and children during the first 1,000 days. It will also summarize the state of the science and research needs related to maternal and child nutrition in the United States. 

Here are 5 things to know about the call for papers:

    1. Papers of interest will focus on nutrition surveillance, interventions, and policy. Topics of interest include maternal diet and nutrition during pregnancy and lactation; infant and young child feeding; community and workplace nutrition supports; and federal, state, local, and organizational policies and programs that support mothers and young children in the 1,000-day window. 
    2. Some papers may not be relevant. Papers of interest will approach the topics above through a public health lens; clinical or treatment studies are not relevant for this series. Papers may (but are not required to) explore lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic response, but results should be relevant beyond the current pandemic.
    3. CDC Director Dr. Ruth Petersen is the guest editor. Dr. Petersen, MD, MPH, is the Director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) and brings a breadth of experience and leadership from multiple settings including health care, local and state health departments, national advisory groups, academic settings, the private sector, and global health platforms.  
    4. Detailed instructions on manuscript preparation and formatting can be found on the AJPH website. We recommend you review the instructions for authors, including specific guidelines for each type of manuscript (systematic reviews, research articles, opinion editorials, etc.). Manuscripts must be submitted to AJPH by March 1, 2022 via the online submission system
    5. All articles in this special issue will be open access, thanks to the generous support of the Pritzker Children’s Initiative. (1,000 Days and PCI are actively seeking additional funders for this opportunity. Contact Blythe Thomas, bthomas@fhisolutions.org, for more information about supporting this important effort.)

View the full call for papers for complete instructions for submission. For additional information, please contact guest editor Dr. Ruth Petersen (rpetersen@cdc.gov). 

Please consider submitting your work and sharing this opportunity with your network!