There are many people struggling to feed their families in these uncertain times. The coronavirus pandemic has shifted the world’s attention to the deplorable health sector in many countries. However, enough attention has not been given to hunger pandemic, which is becoming apparent. It should be noted that Food supply is part of the immediate health response to COVID-19.
Research shows that 23% of people in Sub-Saharan Africa are undernourished. According to the United Nations World Food Programme estimates, the number of people facing acute food insecurity as a result of the global economic fallout from COVID-19 could double this year to 265 million and much of that impact will be felt in Africa. With unemployment rates skyrocketing, it is crucial that vulnerable people have access to nutritious food.
COVID-19 will impact most marginalized children from low-income families if actionable measures are not put in place. The poorest and vulnerable households will bear the brunt, destroying the hopes of a generation of children. The socioeconomic impact of the pandemic will push many poor households to turn to desperate measures just to survive. Children could face increased risk of child labour or sexual exploitation or of child marriage, as families struggle to feed their families.
Few of the facts about hunger:
- One-third of children under five are stunted. This statistic is particularly concerning because it is twice the rate of Thailand and three times the rate of Tunisia. Stunting in children is a common symptom of undernourishment and can only be alleviated with a steady supply of adequate food.
- The insurgency in the country has led to many displaced people without access to food. The reign of the extremist group has left 8.5 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in Nigeria.
- On top of the rates of displacement, 5.1 million Nigerians are malnourished. Being on the move makes food sources even less reliable.
The hunger pandemic should be a no-no in Nigeria, Africa and the world.