The number of pregnant and breastfeeding women suffering from acute malnutrition has soared by 25 percent across 12 countries in Africa and Asia since 2020, according to a UNICEF report.

In the report published on Tuesday, UNICEF said that the number of malnourished mothers increased from 5.5 million to 6.9 million over the last two years in countries hardest hit by a global nutrition crisis, exacerbated by the war in Ukraine, drought, conflict and instability.

In the 12 countries – Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen – more than one billion adolescent girls and women are suffering from undernutrition with devastating consequences for their lives and wellbeing, Al Jazeera reports.

Poor nutrition in pregnant and breastfeeding women can lead to several health issues for their children, including premature births, low birth weight, stunting and wasting in newborns, according to the report.

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