UNICEF Begs For Urgent Intervention In Kaduna As 1.6 million Children Are Malnourished

The United Nation Children’s Fund on Wednesday said Kaduna State has over 1.6 million malnourished children, the highest in Nigeria.

UNICEF’s Nutrition Specialist, Dr Florence Oni, disclosed this while presenting nutrition intervention score card in the last six months in the state.

Speaking during the two-day 2016 mid-year review meeting in Kaduna, she said the malnutrition was responsible for the death of 50 per cent of children under five-year-old in the state.

“Currently, over 900,000 children, representing 57 per cent children in the state are stunted; meaning six out of every 10 children less than five years in the state are stunted due to malnutrition.

“Also, over 750,000 children are wasted, which implies that 47 per cent of the children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and are 10 times more likely to die.”

She said that the state government was already doing something about it, adding that much needed to be done if the epidemic would be address.

“So far, the State Government has released about N37 million to treat just about 3,060 children, and UNICEF had equally supported the government with same amount to treat additional 3,060 children.

“When you add up, it will give you just 6,120 children that are being treated. This is a very insignificant figure when compared with the over 1.6 million malnourished children in the state,’’ she said.

She added that UNICEF in collaboration with the state government rolled out Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in March as part of efforts to address the problem.

She said that 507 children from six to 59 months old with severe acute malnutrition were admitted into CMAM between March and May.

She added that, so far, 138 have been treated and discharged, while two defaulted and five died.

She said that 60 health workers and 160 community volunteers had been trained and acquired necessary skills and capacity for the management of SA.

The nutrition expert said that Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (CIYF) were also rolled out in the state to educate mothers on proper feeding of children.

“So far, 11,572 pregnant and lactating mothers in Kajuru and Zaria Local Government Areas were trained between January and May on appropriate infant and young child feeding.’’

The specialist said that the state government had also released N80 million for two rounds of Maternal and Child Health Week (MNCHW) and was conducted in February and June 2016.

She said that during the week, 2,585,092 children from six to 59 months old received vitamin A supplement, while 1,809,784 children from 12 to 59 months were dewormed.

“Also, 502,569 pregnant women received supply of iron folate for the prevention of micro nutrient deficiencies.

“With this figure, we have met the set milestones of 75, 45 and 45 per cent, respectively, for the three key nutrition intervention of vitamin A, de worming and iron folate this year,’’ she added.

On his part, the Chief Field Officer, UNICEF Kaduna, Mr Uptal Moitra, said timely release of fund for nutrition interventions remains urgent and critical towards addressing malnutrition in the state.

He emphasised the need for the state government to increase investment to effectively address the epidemic in the state.


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