While COVID-19 has touched nearly every country in the world, low- and middle- income countries are particularly vulnerable to compounded effects of the pandemic. In many places, food insecurity and malnutrition are exacerbated due to loss of employment related to lockdowns, closure of schools and social programs that often provide food, and disruptions in global supply chains. Further, the focus on treating COVID-19 may divert healthcare resources away from malnutrition prevention and treatment programs, virtually guaranteeing long-term consequences that will persist long after the disease is contained. So, what interventions make sense? What are food security experts and the global development community doing to mitigate the crisis when it comes to food insecurity and malnutrition?
We welcomed Dr. Johann Swinnen, Director General of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. Established in 1975, IFPRI currently has more than 600 employees working in over 50 countries.
Dr. Swinnen talked to Dr. Sarah Bermeo, Associate Director of the Duke Center for International Development (DCID) and Dr. Kelly Brownell, Director of the Duke World Food Policy Center (WFPC). The discussion was the fourth installment of the COVID-19 and International Development virtual event series sponsored by DCID and the Sanford School of Public Policy.