UNICEF Declares Kaduna, Malnutrition Epidemic State
By Alex Uangbaoje
The United Nation Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday declared Kaduna State of Nigeria, malnutrition epidemic state with over 1.6 million children suffering from one form of malnutrition or the other.
Dr Florence Oni, UNICEF, Nutrition Specialist, made the declaration while presenting nutrition intervention score card in the last six month in the state, during a two-day 2016 mid-year review meeting in Kaduna.
According to her, malnutrition is responsible for the death of 50 per cent children under five years in the state.
“Currently, over 900, 000 children, representing 57 per cent children in the state are stunted; meaning 6 out of every 10 children under five years in the state is 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 ten times more likely to die”.
She however said that the state government was already doing something about it, adding that much needs 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 6000 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 has rolled out Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in March this year 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 2 defaulted and 5 died.
She also 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 equally said that Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (CIYF) was 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 further said that the state government had also released N 80 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 micronutrient 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, deworming and iron folate this year, “she added.
On his part, the Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, Mr Uptal Moitra, said timely release of fund for nutrition interventions remains urgent and critical towards addressing malnutrition in the state.
He emphasized the much need for the state government to increase investment to effectively address the epidemic in the state.