The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion We must fight malnutrition

Mothers wait to be attended by a nurse with their children who present symptoms of malnutrition in Doolow, Somalia, on June 15. (Luis Tato for The Washington Post)

The Aug. 2 Health article “Rising temps could mean rising malnutrition in poorer countries, study on West Africa says” connected climate change with severe malnutrition and stunted growth. It discussed one of the many studies that reveal the importance of addressing the current food scarcity emergency, while simultaneously addressing long-term challenges such as conflict, climate change and covid-19 to prepare our global food system for long-term stability. Global malnutrition is not just an acute issue; it’s an ongoing tragedy that causes the deaths of about 3 million children under age 5 every year. Fortunately, scientific evidence has shown that a few specific interventions, the “Power 4,” can prevent the deaths of malnourished children.

The bipartisan Global Malnutrition Prevention and Treatment Act directs the U.S. Agency for International Development to focus on those high-impact strategies: prenatal vitamins, breastfeeding support, vitamin A supplements and ready-to-use therapeutic food. Recently, the bill was passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with no opposition. Now, a final vote in the Senate is the last barrier to making our nutrition foreign aid more effective. It’s time for the United States to step up as a global leader and support suffering families around the world. We need champions in the Senate to urge leadership to bring this critical bill to the floor for a vote.

Katie Fleischer, Washington

The writer is an advocacy associate at RESULTS, an anti-poverty organization.