India is facing an unprecedented public health crisis with the latest wave of COVID-19. Action Against Hunger is supporting COVID-19 prevention and treatment, while working to ensure this medical crisis doesn’t become a hunger crisis by delivering relief resources worth $1.5 million in the coming months. This includes 30,000 PPE and N95 masks to medical and frontline workers, 30 ventilator units, 120 fetal monitors and BiPap machines, 3,500 medical devices that include oximeters and nebulizers, plus 200 tons of food, and emergency mental health and nutrition counseling.
“With much of India now in lockdown and health services struggling to keep up, we fear that hunger and malnutrition will quickly follow COVID-19’s latest wave in India, especially for vulnerable groups like young children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers,” said Snigdha Sahal, Action Against Hunger India’s Executive Director.
Prior to the pandemic, two-thirds of the country’s population lived in poverty and four out of ten children were chronically malnourished. Research shows the pandemic has had a devastating impact on incomes and worsened food security in India. Given the importance of nutrition in a child’s first 1,000 days, “a further deterioration in the food situation could pose a threat to an entire generation,” says Sahal.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Action Against Hunger’s 190 in-country staff have supported 41,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women and treated 6,000 malnourished children. Its aid workers also have made more than 55,000 phone calls to equip people with reliable information on COVID-19 precautions and vaccines, and to address rising need for nutrition and hunger prevention and for stress management and mental health. The organization trains parents in how to detect their children’s nutrition status at home, reducing the need to visit health centers during lockdowns when the medical system is overwhelmed.
Working across urban and rural areas of four states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat — Action Against Hunger has collaborated with local authorities and partners to provide necessary equipment to government hospitals and frontline workers so they can continue to provide crucial healthcare services.
Action Against Hunger is the world’s hunger specialist and leader in a global movement that aims to end life-threatening hunger for good within our lifetimes. For more than 40 years, the humanitarian and development organization has been on the front lines, treating and preventing hunger across nearly 50 countries. Typically, it serves more than 17 million people each year and has been working in India for more than ten years.