58% children in five northern states are malnourished, says UNICEF
• 370,000 under-five kids require life-saving interventions
• U.K. invests $47.9m to address situation
No fewer than 58 per cent of under-five children in five northern states of Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, and Zamfara are suffering from the severe effects of malnutrition, which have impaired their physical and mental development.
A group of experts from federal and state governments, development partners, civil society and academia announced in Abuja last week that an estimated 370,000 children with severe acute malnutrition in these states will require life-saving treatment this year and that without such treatment, about 70,000 of this number are likely to die.
The experts in a statement after a two-day meeting to discuss the results of research on activities carried out by the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme in Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, and Zamfara states said taking action to address the root causes of child malnutrition is key to reducing the high rate of child malnutrition in northern Nigeria.
The WINNN programme, implemented by the Nigerian government with support from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), Save the Children and Action Against Hunger, is funded by United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and works in three local councils in each of the five states.
The Operational Research and Impact Evaluation (ORIE) project is an independent component of the DFID funded WINNN programme. ORIE is carrying out research to determine the impact of WINNN and generates important research on key evidence gaps regarding solutions to malnutrition in northern Nigeria.
The DFID funded the WINNN programme is providing treatment of malnutrition, including Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), vitamin A supplementation and deworming, and promoting improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF) practices, with the aim of benefiting 11 million children under five across five states of Kebbi, Katsina, Jigawa, Zamfara and Yobe in northern Nigeria.
The WINNN group of experts recommended increasing activities to prevent malnutrition such as encouraging women to attend health facilities for antenatal and postnatal care where they can be given guidance on how to best feed their children, especially the most vulnerable children under two years old.
Applauding the increase in State and Federal Governments’ and partners’ commitment to resolving the problem of child malnutrition over the past several years, as well as the more than US$47.9 million investment by the DFID in the WINNN programme since its inception in 2011, the participants at the meeting highlighted the need for all stakeholders to invest further.