No Time to Waste

Improving diets, services and practices for the prevention, early detection and treatment of wasting in early childhood.

Pakistan. A child is checked for malnutrition.


Children suffering from wasting are some of the most vulnerable children on the planet. They are the poorest of the poor, the youngest of the young and often left behind by mainstream development. Without treatment, they are at extremely high risk of dying.

Over the past two decades, the world has reduced the proportion of children suffering from undernutrition by one third – or an astonishing 55 million. This proves that progress is possible. 

Yet growing poverty and inequality, conflict, climate change and the impacts of  COVID-19 are combining to stall and even subvert progress made in recent years.

“Children shouldn’t have to suffer and die because of where they live. We must change this. Now. And we can.” – UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

The solutions to prevent, detect and treat child malnutrition are well known, and with adequate investment and collaboration – and political will – we can take these solutions to scale. This will get us back on track and end malnutrition for good.


A pioneering new programme approach to eliminate child wasting


To help make this possible, UNICEF has launched ‘No Time to Waste’, which highlights key practical challenges to reaching the 10 million children most vulnerable to life-threatening wasting that go untreated every year, by focusing on results that will accelerate and improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of child wasting. The report includes a clear package of measures to scale up the five core components required to prevent, detect and treat wasting:

1. Improve our understanding of why and where children become wasted.

2. Increase access to the services children and women need to prevent wasting.

3. Improve services to detect wasting, as early as possible.

4. Scale up community-based treatment.

5. Improve children’s access to ready-to-use therapeutic foods.

Cover image of No Time to Waste report

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