Enteric and diarrheal diseases are a major cause of child mortality. Annually, over half a million children under five die in lowand middle-income countries (LMICs) because of complications related to diarrhea. With or without overt diarrhea, enteric infections account for 25% of child stunting globally and are a major contributor to impaired cognitive development. Undernutrition of children and mothers, both chronic and acute, is the leading underlying cause of child morbidity and mortality. Global estimates indicate that undernutrition directly contributes to 45% of all child deaths, some 3.1 million annually. In addition, at least 151 million children are affected by stunting,
51 million children are affected by wasting, and 2 billion people suffer from deficiencies of essential micronutrients such as vitamin A, iron and zinc. Enteric dysfunctions and undernutrition exhibit synergy, which amplifies the aforementioned deficits in child growth and development, limits a child’s future potential, and provokes enormous losses of human capital.
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