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Global Malnutrition Initiative

COVID-19 Appeal

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could provide more than 200 community and facility-based health workers with personal protective equipment.


could procure enough cartons of therapeutic food to treat more than 2000 children for acute malnutrition.

Just over £100000

could enable us to keep four health facilities open and treating children with malnutrition for three months in Hodeidah, Yemen.

What is the Global Malnutrition Initiative?

Save the Children’s Global Malnutrition Initiative (GMI) prevents, diagnoses, and treats child acute** malnutrition in five fragile and conflict-affected contexts: the DRC, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen.

The GMI pioneers innovative approaches to the treatment and management of acute malnutrition at the community level, whilst advocating for the adoption and scale-up of these approaches by our partners at the national and global level. It is situated within Save the Children’s significant health and nutrition portfolio. 

The threat of COVID-19

COVID-19 represents an unprecedented threat to both the progress we have made so far and our future plans. It is imperative that children and their families continue to receive life-saving treatment for acute malnutrition. And we must ensure that community health workers, on the frontline of the COVID-19 response, are given the protection, tools and training they need to deliver malnutrition treatment safely.

Given the scale of the crisis and its rapid onset, we are scaling up the GMI’s treatment activities to deal with the immediate risk for children and their families. We urgently need £1 million to help as many children and health workers as possible.

Together, we can save lives in the communities most at risk from malnutrition and COVID-19. 

For more information, or to find out how you can help, please email Carolina Garcia Marengo

Lawrence* & Leolida*

Leolida, 12, and Lawrence, aged just 18 months, are brothers from Turkana, Kenya, one of the areas that receives support through our Global Malnutrition Initiative (GMI). Their mum, Jennifer*, raises them alone in a remote village, where making sure her children get enough food is a permanent struggle.

With so little to eat, Lawrence fell ill with severe acute malnutrition – he had diarrhoea and a fever, and was about half the weight of a healthy child his age. Thanks to the Save the Children and the GMI, Leolida and his mum haven’t had to cope with Lawrence’s illness alone. One of our community health volunteers, Mark, was on hand to diagnose little Lawrence and give him the antibiotics and highly nutritious food he needed to begin his recovery.

Now Save the Children has deployed community health volunteers like Mark in the village, Jennifer can take her children for regular health checks. Without the Community Health Volunteers Jennifer would have to walk for two hours to the nearest health clinic, or a whole day to the local hospital 12km away.

Leolida adores little Lawrence. He plays with him and looks after him when mum Jennifer is cooking or cleaning. He even shares his food with him. This would be a difficult thing for any child to do for his sibling, but it’s even more admirable when you consider Leolida often goes to bed hungry as a result.

“Lawrence is my little brother that I love very much and I would do anything to help him,” says Leolida. The feeling is entirely mutual – Lawrence really misses Leolida when he goes to school and comes alive when he gets home. Leolida scoops him up in his arms and kisses him. He plays with him constantly, clapping hands, and throwing him up in the air. It’s the only time that Lawrence smiles or laughs.

Leolida believes that playing helps to distract Lawrence from his hunger. “He is not hungry when you play with him, he is just happy" says Leolida.

As well as helping Lawrence get well again, Mark has also inspired Leolida’s new career aspiration. “I want to become a doctor so that I can help other young children like my younger brother Lawrence,” he says.

*Names have been changed to protect identities

**Acute malnutrition is also known as ‘wasting’, when children are thin for their height because of acute food shortages or disease. Acute malnutrition is characterised by a rapid deterioration in nutritional status over a short period of time in children under five years of age.

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