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More than 39 Billion In-school Meals were Missed Across the Globe During COVID-19 Pandemic Closures: UNICEF Report

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More than 39 billion school meals missed during COVID-19 pandemicOn 28th January 2021, The United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) Office of Research – Innocenti and the World Food Programme (WFP) released a new report titled “COVID-19: Missing More Than a Classroom. The impact of school closures on children’s nutrition” which states that more than 39 billion in-school meals were missed due to the closure of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gist of the report:

i.Around 370 million children across the globe whose source of daily nutrition were school meals, have missed 40% of in-school meals due to the closure of schools during the pandemic.

ii.Recent estimates show that around 24 million school children are at risk of dropping out of schools due to pandemic.

iii.The pandemic has resulted in a 30% overall reduction in the coverage of the essential nutrition programmes like school feeding, micronutrient supplementation, and nutrition promotion programmes in low- and middle-income countries.

iv.During the first 9 months of 2020, around 13 million school children received WFP based support as compared to the 17.3 million in 2019.

School Feeding Programmes:

According to the World food Programme(WFP), as of 2019 the largest number of beneficiaries (in millions) of school feeding programmes are in India (around 100), Brazil (48), China (44), South Africa (9) and Nigeria (9).

Midday meals Scheme of India:

It is observed that the Midday Meals Scheme (MDMS) of India has reduced the calorie deficits in children by 30%.

Key Points:

i.The UNICEF and WFP are urging the government to reopen the school while ensuring that the safety, food and nutritional needs of the children are fulfilled through the high quality school feeding programmes.

ii.UNICEF supported the national governments to continue the nutrition service for school children and adolescents.

iv.Around 25 million children and adolescents were benefited through the programmes for preventing anaemia.

Recent Related News:

On 30th July 2020, United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) and Pure Earth, international non-profit organization authored and published the first of kind report on the health crisis titled “The Toxic Truth: Children’s Exposure to Lead Pollution Undermines a Generation of Future Potential” states that around lead poisoning affects large number of children all across the globe.

About UNICEF:
Executive Director– Henrietta Holsman Fore
Headquarter– New York, United States of America