Ignorance main cause of Malnutrition in Kaduna – Official
By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna
Despite investments being made by government, donor agencies and other stakeholders, malnutrition remains an issue of serious concern in Kaduna State.
On Friday, Alive & Thrive, (A&T), held a media roundtable with journalists in Kaduna to strategize on a better and more effective ways to create awareness on issues around nutrition with special focus on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding Nutrition (MIYCN).
Speaking on behalf of the Kaduna State, Project Coordinator, Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria, (ANRiN), Dr Zainab Idris, the state Communication Officer, Mairo Tahir, noted that malnutrition is mainly caused by Ignorance and not inadequate food or poverty.
She said most communities affected by malnutrition in the state are those that are into farming that have more than enough to eat, but that the ignorance of combining the food is what has been their challenge.
Mairo Tahir, stated that because of the discovery, the ANRiN project has embarked on social and behavioural communication change campaign to educate and enlightened the people through the use of jingles, different kinds of messages on MIYCN.
She added that they are also using messages on five key areas, such as; advocacy on early initiation, exclusive breast feeding for six months, appropriate complimentary feeding, hand washing component, infant and folic acid for pregnant mothers on different Radio stations in the State.
In his presentation, the Assistant State Nutrition Officer, State Primary Healthcare Board, (SPHCB), Mr. George Adams, said the number of children being admitted for malnutrition is increasing by the day.
He explained that even though the number of those on admission are increasing, number of those being treated for malnutrition is decreasing.
George, attributed the increase to access of more Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) Centres in the State, where more people now have the opportunity to be tested on like when the centres were very few.
According to him, the state now has 117 CMAM Centres and 17 Secondary health facilities as stabilization centers for the management of complication as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition, plus 1.129, facilities also providing the service.
On the challenges fueling malnutrition in the State, he said “insecurity has increased food security in communities which has thrown more children into malnutrition in most homes. People in these communities can’t cultivate their farmlands;
“Displacement of people from their ancestral homes from sacked communities by invading marauders. There is another issue of myths and misconception surrounding malnutrition, but with the community, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) programme and other nutrition enlightenment programmes”.
Earlier, in her remarks, A&T Zonal Coordinator, Sarah Didi Kwasu, noted that the role of the media is important in the campaign against malnutrition, hence the need for the roundtable meeting.
She said an estimated 13 percent of child deaths could be averted if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for the first six months of life, and that the media has the power to create awareness on the issue.
According to her, breastfed children have at least 6 times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children, while an exclusive breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-fed child.