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HomeEconomyGlobal food crisis 'will kill millions' from disease, health executive warns MPNRC
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Global food crisis ‘will kill millions’ from disease, health executive warns MPNRC

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The head of a major aid organization has warned that the global food crisis caused by the war in Ukraine will kill millions of people leaving the most hungry to infectious diseases, potentially becoming the world’s next health crisis. may cause devastation.

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A Russian naval blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports has halted grain shipments from the world’s fourth-largest wheat and corn exporter, threatening shortages and hunger in low-income countries.

Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, told AFP this week that the effects of a food shortage mean many people will die not only of starvation, but from weakened defenses against infectious diseases due to poor nutrition. Will die ,

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“I think we have probably started our next health crisis. This is not a new pathogen, but it means people with poor nutrition will be more vulnerable to existing diseases,” he told G20 health minister in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta Said in an interview on the sidelines of the meeting.

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“I think the combined effect of infectious diseases and food shortages and energy crisis … we could be talking about millions of additional deaths because of it,” he said.

World governments must mitigate the impact of the food crisis by providing frontline healthcare to their poorest communities, which will be most vulnerable, said the former British banker, who now heads the $4 billion fund.

“It means focusing on primary healthcare so that healthcare that is delivered in villages, in communities. Hospitals are important but when you face a challenge like this, the most important thing is primary healthcare.”

‘Disaster’

The fight to stop the spread of the coronavirus has sapped resources from the fight against tuberculosis, which killed 1.5 million people in 2020, according to data from the World Health Organization.

“It’s been a disaster for TB,” Sands said.

“In 2020 you saw 1.5 million people globally being treated for TB and that sadly means hundreds of thousands of people will die, but also that those people will infect other people.”

The health expert said solving the food crisis is now paramount to help treat the world’s second deadliest infectious disease.

The West and Ukraine accused Russia of attempting to press for concessions by blocking vital grain exports, raising fears of a global famine.

Moscow has countered, saying it is Western sanctions that are responsible for the shortage in the Middle East and Africa.

Germany will host a meeting on the crisis on Friday under the title “Uniting for Global Food Security”, which will be attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“It’s a poor man’s epidemic and because of that, it hasn’t attracted as much investment in research and development,” Sands said, referring to tuberculosis.

“It’s a tragedy because it’s a disease that we know how to prevent, how to cure, we know how to get rid of.”

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