Fact Sheet: COVID-19 Global Pandemic, Better Nutrition Protects Lives

April 24, 2020
Mothers in a Zambian village learn how to prepare and feed their children a nutritious porridge. Photo: Joe Molieri / Bread for the World

An urgent priority during the COVID-19 global pandemic is to protect mothers and young children and others who are at higher risk of death because they are malnourished.

With the virus now spreading in low-resource contexts and new waves of infection expected in the coming year, better nutrition for vulnerable people in the poorest countries—nutrition that provides the best possible immunity and strengthens resilience—is more important than ever.

Good nutrition is critical for child survival, health, and development. It builds immunity, protects against illness and infection, builds resilience, and supports recovery. Of all deaths among children younger than 5, approximately 45 percent is attributable to malnutrition—either acute malnutrition or increased vulnerability to infections and other illnesses caused by malnutrition.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to double the number of people facing food crises, which will soar to 265 million in 2020 unless swift actions are taken, according to the U.N. World Food Programme. A rise in malnutrition is inevitable as the economic and health crisis becomes a global hunger crisis, and the secondary impacts reduce dietary quality, impair WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) practices, and threaten care services for mothers as well as the continuation of regular health and nutrition programs for children.

The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to double the number of people facing food crises unless swift actions are taken

Tools
from our Resource Library

For Education

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  • Conflict and Fragility Are Hunger Issues

    Conflict is a main driver of the recent increase in hunger around the world and of forced migration. Hunger also contributes to conflict.

For Faith

  • The Bible on Health as a Hunger Issue

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  • Unity Declaration on Racism and Poverty

    A diverse body of Christian leaders calls on the churches and Congress to focus on the integral connection.

    Dear Members of Congress,

    As the president and Congress are preparing their plans for this year, almost 100 church leaders—from all the families of U.S. Christianity—are...

  • In Times Like These … A Pan-African Christian Devotional for Public Policy Engagement

    This devotional guide invites deepened relationship with and among Pan-Af­rican people and elected leaders in the mission to end hunger and poverty.

For Advocacy