About 2.5 million children under the age of five in Nigeria suffer severe acute malnutrition, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday in Borno State.
Vanguard reports that, UNICEF’s nutrition specialist, Ms. Abigail Nyukuri, stated this at a two-day media dialogue on an integrated and timely response to nutrition-related humanitarian needs organized in Maiduguri, Borno State.
According to her, an estimated 440,000 boys and girls under the age of five in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe States are affected by the disease in 2019. She said the protracted access constraints and insecurity in the region is responsible for the worsening situation.
She noted that Malnutrition has dire consequences in the life of a child. It is a vicious circle because a malnourished child has issues with development, a compromised immunity status, and impaired cognitive and intellectual capacities. All these and other issues combine to lead to increased poverty levels in the country because these children cannot adopt productive lifestyles when they become adults.
Responding, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, represented by ministry’s Deputy Director and Head of Child Rights Information Bureau, Olumide Osanyinpeju disclosed that efforts were being made by the government through policies and structures aimed at addressing the unfortunate situation in the country.
“The Federal Government has come to the realisation that lack of access to basic nutrition is an infringement on the rights of the child. Hence, efforts have been made by the government in the provision of policies and structures to manage malnutrition in the country through various programmes to support nutrition vis-à-vis exclusive breastfeeding, complementary feeding from six months, even the Home Grown School Feeding programme, etc., which are all aimed at eliminating poor feeding practice for children.” He said