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Nigeria records drop in child deaths, rise in under-five malnutrition


Nigeria has recorded a significant decrease in childhood mortality rates as the probability of dying between birth and the first birthday (infant mortality rate) dropped from 97 per 1000 live births in 2011 to 70/1000 in 2016-17.

The under-five mortality rate also dropped from 158/1000 live births in 2011 to 120/1000 in 2016-17.United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Evaluation Expert, Maureen Okolo, who disclosed this at a media dialogue on Data-driven Reporting organised by the United Nations (UN) Agency said Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS5 2016-2017 survey) conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics also showed that with the current rate of one out of 10 children dying before their fifth birthday, Nigeria still has one of the highest childhood mortality in the World.

She noted that the survey revealed that Malnutrition among the children under five years has worsened generally.Okolo explained that Underweight prevalence among children increased from 24 percent to 31percent while stunting prevalence (children who are short for their age) increased from 34.8 to 43.6 percent.She said, “Wasting prevalence (children who are too thin for their height) increase marginally from 10.2 percent to 10.8 percent.”

Okolo observed that right data interpretation by media practitioners and all stakeholders in Nigeria would form basis of advocacy, fund raising and sustainance of development activities in the country.She pointed out that data informs policy decisions and enhance advocacy on priorities and development issues.

A representative of Nigerian Child Right Information Bureau, Olumide Osayinpeju also identified MICs as instrumental to strengthening national statistics.“The two surveys helps in monitoring and tracking progress of towards national and international development goals,” he said.He emphasized the need to use data figures accurately in the advocacy reports of development partners like UNICEF and other related agencies.

According to him, “This is paramount to the government of the federation it is to guide against contentious issues.“Issues of data has become very urgent and important not only to the government of Nigeria but also to key partners and stakeholders.”

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