Nutrition & Health

A mother feeds her child Plumpy'Nut, the peanut paste used to treat malnutrition.
Olivia Acland
Action Against Hunger, DRC

Saving Lives & Improving Health

Malnutrition is one of the greatest threats to child survival worldwide and the underlying cause of nearly half of all child deaths. Action Against Hunger’s expertise in saving malnourished children’s lives is internationally renowned, thanks to our more than four decades of experience working where hunger is most severe and entrenched.

From isolated rural communities to overcrowded urban slums to refugee camps, we prevent and treat undernutrition in more than 50 countries around the world. We work in humanitarian emergencies and in more stable contexts to improve the health and survival of the most vulnerable children, as well as pregnant women and nursing mothers.

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Helping Children Survive & Thrive

The first 1,000 days between pregnancy and a baby’s second birthday are a critical window of opportunity for health. Good nutrition during this time period builds a strong immune system, ensures healthy physical and intellectual development, and supercharges a children’s chances of survival.


Of All Child Deaths Worldwide Are From Hunger and Related Causes

A mother and child inside one of Action Against Hunger’s Stabilization Centers in Nigeria, where conflict in the Northeast has pushed communities into a severe hunger crisis.

Children Under 5 Suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition, the Deadliest Form of Hunger

A girl eats Plumpy'Nut, the lifesaving ready-to-use therapeutic food that will help her recover from malnutrition.

Of Acutely Malnourished Children Do Not Have Access to Lifesaving Treatment

Malnutrition is predictable, preventable, and treatable.

An Action Against Hunger Community Mobilizer visits with a family at their home.
A child eats Plumpy'Nut, the ready-to-use therapeutic food that can bring malnourished children from a medical crisis to full health in as little as 45 days.

What We Do

Detect and Treat Malnutrition

Action Against Hunger pioneered some of the earliest formulas and approaches to treating malnourished children. Around the world, our teams work in health centers, on mobile teams, and in communities to find cases of malnutrition and ensure that children receive lifesaving treatment. Every year, our community-based nutrition programs reach hundreds of thousands of mothers and children.

Teach, Support, and Empower Parents

Our teams train community health workers to educate mothers, fathers, and other caregivers about the benefits of breastfeeding and improved nutrition to help babies and young children grow up strong and healthy. In our peer support groups, we work with pregnant women and new mothers – and fathers, too! – to encourage and promote good health, nutrition, hygiene, sanitation, and care practices for mothers, infants, and young children.

We also teach parents to use simple tools to detect malnutrition at home, without the help of a health worker. This way, they can monitor their children’s nutrition status regularly and – if needed – get them treated as soon as possible.

Provide Mental Health Support

Conflict is the biggest driver of hunger. Experience with violence or other distressing events can cause trauma, depression, and other mental health issues. For mothers, this can sometimes make it difficult to bond and properly care for their children, which can lead to malnutrition or other illnesses. Action Against Hunger’s teams provide psychological first aid in emergencies, offer mental health counselling, work with women to give them safe spaces to talk about difficult issues, and help them develop coping strategies to deal with mental health challenges.

Strengthen Health Systems

Strong health systems save lives and help children not only survive, but thrive. We provide technical expertise and support to strengthen community health systems, helping to harness and build local capacity. Our aim is to transfer our knowledge, fill in gaps in supplies and funding, work in partnership with communities and local governments, and improve local health and nutrition services to ensure sustainable impact.

Develop Innovative New Approaches

For more than 40 years, our teams have been on the cutting edge of research in the nutrition field. We helped to develop revolutionary nutrition treatment products and conducted field testing of innovative treatment protocols that are now best practice. Today, our research strives to save more children’s lives by improving and developing new approaches to preventing and treating malnutrition.

Helping Halima

“I feel very happy,” says Fatuma, mother of Halima, who recovered from malnutrition with help from Action Against Hunger. “I remember how sick she was then, and how healthy she is now, and I am so grateful.”

Partnering with Community Health Workers

To bridge the gap between remote communities and formal health systems, Action Against Hunger partners with health workers. We empower community health workers and volunteers with the skills and tools needed to diagnose and treat malnourished children in the villages where they live and work.

Community health workers educate communities, check on children’s health, provide immunizations, and treat malnutrition and other illnesses early. They save parents the long walk to the nearest health clinic, and continue to monitor a child’s recovery during regular home visits.

A child eats Plumpy'Nut, a peanut paste used to treat malnutrition.
Sandra Calligaro
Action Against Hunger, Afghanistan
At a community training, a member of our team trains parents how to use a color-coded measuring band to check their children's nutrition status.
Christophe Da Silva
Action Against Hunger, Cameroon
Magdalena, community health volunteer, screens two children from the Turkana tribe. One child suffers from malnutrition and is being treated and monitored.
A mother consults with a nurse at one of Action Against Hunger’s Health & Nutrition Centers in Somalia.

To treat malnutrition, our teams use Plumpy’Nut, a highly-effective, ready-to-use therapeutic food that can bring a child from a medical crisis to recovery in as little as 45 days.

With a simple color-coded band, parents and health workers can measure a child's upper arm and determine their nutrition status.

A Band of Hope

For years, parents had to travel for miles to access nutrition services at faraway health centers and hospitals. Now, Action Against Hunger goes to them, delivering lifesaving health care directly in communities.

Bringing Health Closer to Home

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to adapt quickly to continue to provide lifesaving care while staying safe from the virus.

Stopgaps into Systems


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