Nearly half of all deaths of children under five in Mali are attributable to undernutrition.
Undernutrition puts children at far greater risk of death and severe illnesses brought on by common childhood infections, such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles, due to the weakening of the body's defence system through malnutrition.
Chronic malnutrition, or stunting, affects 24 per cent of children in Mali. Stunting has long-term effects on a child's physical and cognitive development and makes children more susceptible to sickness and leads to poor performance in school. Mali also has one of the highest rates of acute malnutrition worldwide, and severe acute malnutrition – the deadliest form of malnutrition – affects two per cent of children.