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International Rescue Committee responds to UN statement on addressing acute malnutrition

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On July 14, the World Health Organization, the United Nations (UN) High Commission for Refugees, the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund, the World Food Program, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a joint statement on how to improve the system for treating acute malnutrition.  The International Rescue Committee (IRC) welcomes this statement and commends the UN and its principals for their commitment to addressing this challenge. The plans laid out in the statement represent critical first steps to expand access to treatment for acute malnutrition. The IRC looks forward to seeing the words translate into tangible action.

IRC will continue to partner with the UN and other NGOs to ensure millions more children can access the lifesaving treatment they need. This includes piloting new approaches, providing help where children live, and advocating for global resources and political will to address the issue.

David Miliband, President and CEO at the International Rescue Committee said: “Tackling acute malnutrition is a large and pressing global challenge, but a challenge that is solvable. The efforts outlined in this statement from the United Nations system’s leadership are a critical step in the right direction.  The IRC supports the UN efforts to spotlight this issue, to conduct research, and to take the necessary steps towards programmatic and policy change that will enable millions more children with acute malnutrition to access the care they need. The IRC will continue to work towards the key system changes that we believe will have the biggest impact: treating all children with acute malnutrition together in one program, and ensuring care is accessible directly in communities.”

Nearly 50 million children around the globe suffer from acute malnutrition, often in conflict-affected and fragile contexts where access to food and health services is limited or not available at all. Today only 20 percent of children with acute malnutrition are able to access treatment. The International Rescue Committee has been at the forefront of tackling this challenge. Since 2014, the IRC, together with partners, has conducted research to test a simplified approach that treats all children with acute malnutrition. The IRC has also tested treatment delivered by community health workers. Results from these studies are promising.

Learn more about IRC’s approach to treating acute malnutrition here.

About the IRC

The International Rescue Committee responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing, and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster. Founded in 1933 at the call of Albert Einstein, the IRC is at work in over 40 countries and 26 offices across the U.S. helping people to survive, reclaim control of their future, and strengthen their communities. Learn more at www.rescue.org and follow the IRC on Twitter & Facebook.