Home News ’13m children suffer chronic malnutrition in Nigeria’

’13m children suffer chronic malnutrition in Nigeria’

by Muhammad Sani

By Haruna Gimba

Over 13 million under- five years children in Nigeria are currently suffering from chronic malnutrition and may likely suffer serious health and developmental problems.

The Network Coordinator of Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Dr. Philippa Momah stated this yesterday in Abuja at a town hall meeting organised by CS-SUNN with the theme,
‘Strengthening in-country accountability for Maternal, Child and Adolescent nutrition’.

She said this is coming on the heels of observations that policy makers and duty -bearers excluded nutrition in the 2016 Annual Budget for the Federation and at State levels.

“About 1.6 million children between six months and five years old suffering from acute malnutrition are nine times likely to die than well-nourished children saying that about 300, 000 of such children
will die in 2016 without treatment,” she said.

She said though exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life is effective in preventing children from malnutrition; the practice was very low in Nigeria even as she pleaded with the three
tiers of government to extend maternity leave to six months in order to protect exclusive breastfeeding.

On her part, the Advocacy Adviser Nutrition for Save the Children, Dr. Yinka Adekugbe noted that Nigeria loses 800, 000 under five children annually which accounts to about 11 percent of total global under-five deaths.

She said malnutrition is the underlying cause of about 53% of child deaths in Nigeria stressing that Nigeria is the leading country in Africa and third globally with over 13 million children who are
chronically undernourished.

According to her, “The Nigeria Democratic Healthy Survey (NDHS) of 2013 reveals that 37% of children under-five are stunted, 18% are wasted and 29% are underweight while only 10% of children within the ages 6-23 months are fed appropriately based on recommended Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.”

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