1 billion adolescent girls and women with anaemia is a solvable nutrition tragedy

Aid agency president tells a global micronutrition conference that adolescent girl nutrition must be prioritised in national and international policies and programming to eliminate malnutrition by 2030. 

Embargoed: Friday 20 October, 00:00 UTC+2 

World Vision International’s President and CEO today called the fact that one billion women and adolescent girls suffer from anaemia “a tragedy”, one that must be urgently addressed. 

The Rev. Andrew Morley called on national and international decision-makers to prioritise adolescent girl nutrition within policies and programmes—something which he said he is “distraught” is not already the case. 

Iron deficiency remains the most common micronutrient deficiency, resulting in missed opportunities for healthy physical growth, mental health, cognitive development, and overall well-being.  

“Proper nutrition for adolescent girls means they are more likely to stay and thrive in school, to grow and develop properly, and babies are more likely to be born healthy,” Rev. Morley told the Micronutrient Forum Global Conference in The Hague.  

“How do we stand any chance of meeting Agenda 2030 if one billion women and adolescent girls are not getting the nutrition they so desperately need?  

“Our staff across the world are doing everything they can to address this life-threatening condition. But governments, civil society and all partners must unite to tackle this head-on, ensuring every girl can reach their God-given potential in life.”  

World Vision believes that micronutrient supplementation—whether Iron-Folic Acid or Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation—should be scaled rapidly to achieve the necessary coverage.  

“Our new global campaign, ENOUGH¸ aims to eradicate global hunger and malnutrition once and for all. There is enough nutritious food in the world for everyone. We’ve had enough of our broken food systems which mean mountains of food are thrown away, while children starve,” added Rev. Morley.  

In alignment with the World Health Assembly anaemia target, World Vision calls for: 

  • A commitment to ensuring women and girls have a say in plans to provide micronutrition supplementation;  
  • Strengthening micronutrient supply chains to ensure consistent access in line with Universal Health Coverage principles; and 
  • Accelerated research on the effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and preference of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation for pregnant and breastfeeding women, and adolescent girls. 

Mr. Morley told the conference delegates more about World Vision’s ENOUGH campaign, its new global campaign to end hunger and malnutrition on World Food Day, and that, this week, he had attended the School Meals Coalition conference in Paris. He stressed that now was the time for a concerted push to ensure everyone, everywhere has enough nutritious food and whatever micronutrients they need to live life in all its fullness.  


Notes to editors 

  • For an interview with Andrew Morley or World Vision’s Global Health Chief Dan Irvine contact Mr. Jan Butter on +44 (0)7789400889 in Den Haag, the Netherlands.  
  • Biographies of other World Vision nutrition experts from around the globe at the Micronutrient Forum Global Conference, plus World Vision’s new Tackling Adolescent Anaemia Technical Brief are available at http://bit.ly/WVatMNF23
  • World Vision is a Christian humanitarian and development organisation dedicated to working with children, families and their communities to reach their full potential by tackling the root causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender.  For more information, please visit www.wvi.org or follow us on Twitter @WorldVision.