Report on the progress on sanitation and hygiene in schools during COVID-19. Global school closures in response to COVID-19 affect up to 1.6 billion children and present an unprecedented risk to their education and wellbeing. WHO and UNICEF guidelines on infection prevention in schools identify a range of measures that need to be in place for schools to reopen and operate safely, including regular handwashing with soap and water, daily disinfection and basic drinking water and sanitation services. Yet the latest global estimates found that in the 60 countries identified as having the highest risk of health and humanitarian crisis due to COVID-19, one in two schools lacked basic water and sanitation services and three in four lacked basic handwashing services at the start of the pandemic. Accelerating progress in countries with the lowest coverage of WASH in schools will therefore be critical to improving school safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. The full report is available.
Press release on the launch and key messages of the fifth annual Asia-Pacific regional SOFI report. The report’s highlights capture the challenges and system-level determinants of unhealthy diets in urban areas, both regarding undernutrition and overweight. It presents, among others, data on food security and affordability and the state of progress on achieving the global nutrition targets. The findings profile various urban environments, interventions, experiences, and opportunities to innovate at multiple levels to transform urban areas into sustainable cities. A link to the report's virtual launch event is available including the recording, key messages, and full report.
Report on the impact of the COVID pandemic on diets, services, and practices in the Eastern and Southern Africa region. The report presents findings from remote surveys in six ESAR countries with data on breastfeeding, diet diversity, food consumption and insecurity, drivers of dietary changes, and disruptions to nutrition services. The survey provides important learning for the future use of remote methods for collecting nutrition data. Technical brief, pull report, and six country briefs are available.
Article on the impact of severe negative economic shock on child acute malnutrition (wasting), a major risk factor for under-5 mortality. In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) macroeconomic volatility is common, and severe negative economic shocks can substantially increase poverty and food insecurity. Less well understood are the implications of these contractions for child wasting. This study explores the nutritional impacts of economic growth shocks over 1990–2018 by linking wasting outcomes collected for 1.256 million children from 52 countries to lagged annual changes in economic growth. Estimates suggest that a 10% annual decline in national income increases moderate/severe wasting prevalence by 14.4–17.8%. An exploration of possible mechanisms suggests negative economic shocks may increase risks of inadequate dietary diversity among children. Applying these results to the latest economic growth estimates for 2020 suggests that COVID-19 could put an additional 9.4 million preschoolers at risk of wasting, net of the effects of preventative policy actions.