By Prudence Ijah, Abuja
In a bid to reduce the present malnutrition crisis in the country, Nutrition Experts have called for concerted efforts to reduce the recent trend where over twenty five million children in Nigeria are malnourished especially in the north east.
A Nutrition Consultant Dr Davis Bamidele Omotola made this known on Friday in Yola during a presentation on Child Malnutrition and the Emergency in Northeast Nigeria at a Media dialogue with Journalist and interface with OAPs on Child Malnutrition in Northeast organized by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), and the Child Rights Information Bureau of the federal ministry of information and Culture.
Dr Omotola said Nigeria requires one hundred million dollars to address the trend of Malnutrition, as 25 million Children under the age of 5 are wasting, while 10 million children are stunted.
“Malnutrition is in various dimensions, there is under nutrition, over nutrition and the hidden hunger and diet related conditions while we have Severe Acute Malnutrition, Stunting, Wasting and Global Acute Malnutrition, hence the need for collaborative efforts to stem this ugly trend” Omotola said.
On his part, the Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed said that Nigeria can achieve the sustainable development goals if malnutrition is addressed.
Represented by Olumide Osanyinpe, Deputy Director/ Head Child Rights Information Bureau, Federal Ministry of information and Culture Mohammed lamented the large burden of malnutrition on the country, Osanyinpe called for collaborative efforts towards investing in child malnutrition for a better future.
” Malnutrition is a large burden in Nigeria, and tackling malnutrition entails empowering and educating people. Improved nutrition is key to improved national and human development and this can be done by educating the populace and creating a positive approach towards Nutrition.
“Addressing nutrition is one of the ways through which sustainable development goals can be achieved, therefore investment in nutrition will help reduce the negative trend of malnutrition which has been ensured by creating this dialogue” he said.
While calling for collaborative effort to address the challenge, Osanyinpe further commended the efforts of UNICEF, DFID over the priceless contributions towards promoting the health of Nigerian mothers and children as well as ensuring that the goals of health strategies targeted are met through constant dialogues.
On his part, the UNICEF Nutrition officer in Bauchi state, Dr Martin Jackson in a presentation on DFID Support for Child Malnutrition and the emergency in the Northeast said DFID financial contributions procured 200,000 carton of Ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) which is enough to cover about 272,000 children.
According to Jackson, “1.2 million children aged 6-59 months received Vitamin A supplements, 195,000 pregnant women have received iron supplements, five thousand naira conditional cash transfer has helped to encourage Mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding while there are IYCF support groups to ensure mothers breastfeed exclusively”.
Jackson said, presently, 38,700 suffer from severe acute malnutrition. The recently purchased RUTF which is currently being distributed will help reduce cases of Malnutrition.
“We are encouraging Mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding within the first six months of the Baby’s life and thereafter breastfeeding should be supported with complementary feeding to ensure proper development and growth of the child and to reduce the cases of malnutrition, stunting, wasting or severe acute malnutrition” Jackson said.