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BMJ Glob Health ; 7(4)2022 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1807374


Over the last two decades, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) has been increasing in India despite favourable national-level economic growth. The latest round of the National Family Health Survey 5 (NFHS-5) results was released, allowing us to assess changes in the malnutrition trends. Analysis of the previous rounds of the NFHS (NFHS-4) has already shown disturbing levels of wasting, often co-occurring with other forms of anthropometric failures. These have been shown to occur in clusters of districts across India that already needed urgent policy and programmatic action. A rapid assessment of data from NFHS-5 for some of these districts for which data are now available shows an alarming increase in SAM in several malnutrition hotspot districts. Surprisingly, some districts outside hotspots and in states and regions that have previously not been known for high malnutrition too have shown increasing SAM prevalence in the latest round. The data from NFHS-5 was collected just before the COVID-19 pandemic and hence does not yet reflect the likely impact of the pandemic on food security, livelihoods and other social stressors among the most marginalised Indian households. Based on this emerging pattern of increasing SAM, we call for an urgent policy and programmatic action to strengthen the Anganwadi system, which caters to preschool children in India and community-based management of acute malnutrition based on recent evidence on their effectiveness.

COVID-19 , Child Nutrition Disorders , Malnutrition , Severe Acute Malnutrition , COVID-19/epidemiology , Child Nutrition Disorders/epidemiology , Child, Preschool , Humans , Malnutrition/epidemiology , Pandemics , Severe Acute Malnutrition/epidemiology
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(7)2020 07.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-689115


It is very exceptional that a new disease becomes a true pandemic. Since its emergence in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes COVID-19, has spread to nearly all countries of the world in only a few months. However, in different countries, the COVID-19 epidemic takes variable shapes and forms in how it affects communities. Until now, the insights gained on COVID-19 have been largely dominated by the COVID-19 epidemics and the lockdowns in China, Europe and the USA. But this variety of global trajectories is little described, analysed or understood. In only a few months, an enormous amount of scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 has been uncovered (knowns). But important knowledge gaps remain (unknowns). Learning from the variety of ways the COVID-19 epidemic is unfolding across the globe can potentially contribute to solving the COVID-19 puzzle. This paper tries to make sense of this variability-by exploring the important role that context plays in these different COVID-19 epidemics; by comparing COVID-19 epidemics with other respiratory diseases, including other coronaviruses that circulate continuously; and by highlighting the critical unknowns and uncertainties that remain. These unknowns and uncertainties require a deeper understanding of the variable trajectories of COVID-19. Unravelling them will be important for discerning potential future scenarios, such as the first wave in virgin territories still untouched by COVID-19 and for future waves elsewhere.

Coronavirus Infections , Global Health , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , China/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Europe/epidemiology , Humans , Infection Control , Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype , Influenza Pandemic, 1918-1919 , Influenza, Human , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology