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Insurgency the greatest driver of Malnutrition in the North East – UNICEF

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and Child’s Rights Bureau (CRIB) of the Federal Ministry of Information during a two-day Media Dialogue held at Duragi Hotel Ltd, Yola, Adamawa State, have raised an alarm on how child malnutrition is gradually killing hundreds of under-age children in the northeastern states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.

Dr Davis Bamidele Omotola, a nutrition expert has regretted that insurgency in the North Eastern part of Nigeria has worsened the situation of malnourished children in the region to severe acute malnutrition.

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He stated that though child malnutrition challenge is recorded across the country but 2018 Nigeria Nutrition Health Survey (NNHS) revealed that the lives of over 25 million children, under the age of five, were threatened by malnourishment in Nigeria, regretting that the North East region in particular accounts for over 900, 000 of the affected children.

The report also revealed that over 10 million Nigerian children are stunted. A breakdown of the figure indicated that 42.8 per cent of the children in North East apart from being stunted, risk death by malnutrition if urgent care is not received.

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He reiterated that 29.7 per cent of children in the North Central, 20.8 per cent in South West, 20.4 per cent in the South-South and 17.2 per cent of children in the South East states are stunted.

Insurgency in the North East which is caused by Boko Haram crisis has worsened the problem of malnutrition in the region.

This crisis has resulted to low food insecurity,  increased spread of endemic diseases, sub optimal and young children feeding practices such as untargetted/uncontrolled infant formula distribution, loss of livelihood, limited dietary diversity, disruption of access to quality water and optional situations amongst others.

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There is need to Strengthen capacity for supply chain management, Screening for identification, referral and follow up of Severely Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases, Capacity building for the health care providers and community workers to provide preventive/promotive measures eg IYCF, MNDC, Advocacy to leverage local resources and monitoring including supportive supervision inorder to curb this endangering condition.

Photo Credit: Internally Displaced Person (IDP) Camp in Maiduguri

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