35m Under 5 Children Suffering From Malnutrition – Expert

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By; TINA PHINEAS, Yola
Nutrition consultant, Dr Davis Bamidele Omotola has raised alarm that 25 million children under five years in Nigeria are wasting and 10 million are stunted due to malnutrition.
Omotola stated this at  the opening of a 2-day ‘Media dialogue on child nutrition in Northeast Nigeria’, organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in collaboration with Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture.
 and partners, in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He maintained that child malnutrition is present in all geo political zone but the greater part of this figure is from the North East, which is 42.8 per cent.
According to him, insurgency in North East Nigeria has worsened the situation of malnourished children in the region.

“Insurgency has resulted in high food insecurity, increasing spread of endemic and disease, limited dietary diversity, poor and deteriorating healthcare system, loss of livelihoods amongst others”

Noting that government cannot fight malnutrition alone, hence the need for more partner support.

UNICEF Nutrition Officer, Dr Martins Jackson highlighted the efforts of UNICEF in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (UK-DFID) and other partners in addressing and curtailing the scourge of malnutrition in Borno and Yobe states.

According to him, with the support of DFID, 1, 239, 802 children were given Vitamin ‘A’ supplementation in Yobe and Borno.

The nutrition officer maintained that 195,000 pregnant women were given Iron Fersolate to prevent them from anemia, adding that 32,000 mothers were given N5, 000 each on monthly basis as an incentive for exclusive breastfeeding and complimentary feeding.

He explained that the purpose of the incentive was to encourage the mothers to effectively adhere to the practice to reduce the burden of nutrition crisis in the zones

“These interventions were geared toward improving nutritional security of under five children, pregnant and lactating women, as well as promoting nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life”.

” The programme was to ensure improved nutritional status of children under the ages of five, pregnant and lactating mothers through prevention, detection and treatment of under nutrition”, Jackson stated.

UNICEF Communication Specialist, Dr Geoffrey Njoku said objective of the media dialogue was to present fact and figure to expose the current situation of malnutrition in the northeast.
“UNICEF believes that journalists can help set the agenda for action against all forms of child malnutrition: be it severe acute malnutrition or stunting”, he stated.
 New Nigerian reports that participating journalists were drawn from different parts of the country for the media dialogue.

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