By; BALA B. BITRUS, Minna
Despite being two councils reputed as huge food baskets in Niger State, there is the paradox of malnutrition in children amidst plenty foods in two council areas of Mariga and Mashegu in the state.
The high rate of malnutrition amongst infants and children population in Mariga and Mashegu council areas of the state has attracted the state government’s attention on the need for immediate arrest and reversal of the ugly, worrisome development to avert imminent, high infant mortality rates from the two councils.
The state government on Tuesday announced that as a result of the ravaging level of malnutrition and related deaths in the two councils, the state has declared a state of emergency therein.
The Permanent Secretary in the state Ministry of Health and Health Services, Dr. Mohammed Maku Sidi said the state government had noted with concern that the high rate of malnutrition amongst infants especially in rural communities in the two councils was getting worse.
Consequently, the state government, has, in a swift move, declared a state of emergency in the two councils, (Mashegu and Mariga Local Governments Areas) forthwith.
Reports from rural communities in the areas depict worsening and dwindling malnutrition amongst infants and children from the areas.
Though farming is a mainstay amongst the rural dwellers across the two councils, however poor nutrition and dietary habit of the right kind of food to eat, has remained major challenge to the growing population.
The result has been a poorly fed and stunted infants and children population who are exposed to sicknesses, diseases and death in the affected areas.
The state government said it believes that the rate of infant malnutrition in the areas was as a result of lack of knowledge and awareness of the importance of nutrition especially for children.
Dr. Maku Sidi assured that the state government will manage the situation in the two councils through concerted interventions to create awareness and jerk up nutrition intake especially amongst infants and little children to reduce infant mortality and encourage healthy growing population.