COVID-19 has profoundly impacted all countries, with even the most prosperous nations overwhelmed by the pandemic. For low- and middle-income countries, the consequences are even more severe. With reduced purchasing power, interruptions in critical welfare programmes, and disruptions in global supply chains, many families no longer have access to adequate nutritious food. Shutdowns and fear of infection lead to reduced access to health systems and nutrition services. These factors may create a malnutrition crisis, with the potential to cause even more devastation than the pandemic itself.
While the provision of food may resolve the hunger issue, this does not guarantee people the nutrients their bodies need. Without access to proper nutrition, there will be long-term health impacts, including weaker immune system, lowered resilience to disease, and increased stunting and wasting. Addressing hunger and, more specifically, ‘nutrition’ need to be a key component of the global COVID-19 response.
Since 2010, Bangladesh has made immense progress in economic growth, food security, health and nutrition, and until COVID-19, the country was on track to achieve the child nutrition targets set in the second Bangladesh National Plan of Action for Nutrition (NPAN2) by 2025.