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Malnutrition a threat to education in northeast, says nutrition expert


[FILE] A young child suffering from severe malnutrition lies on a bed in the ICU ward at the In-Patient Therapeutic Feeding Centre in the Gwangwe district of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, northeastern Nigeria, on September 17, 2016.Aid ag. / AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS (Photo credit should read STEFAN HEUNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

•USAID moves to check epidemic outbreak in Cross River, Abia
Statistics have revealed that malnutrition arising from Boko Haram insurgency has continued to threaten education in the northeast, especially, Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

A nutrition expert, Bamidele Omotola, dropped the hint at a media dialogue.The forum was organised by Child Rights Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)He expressed concern that about 25 million under five children in Nigeria are presently ‘wasting,’ while 10 million children are malnourished across the country.

Omotola disclosed that the World Bank had predicted that if urgent steps were not taken, that by 2021, Nigeria would overtake India as the world capital for the death of children below five years.Stressing that the death of any child in the country is a national disaster, the nutrition expert said 50 per cent of children in 12 states are currently stunted as a result of malnutrition.

Omotola likened child malnutrition to sentencing the victims to death for no crime. Arguing that one in five children with severe acute malnutrition cases would die, if treatment were not provided at the right time, he warned that children with acute malnutrition have nine-fold risk of death, compared with well-nourished children.

UNICEF communication specialists Geoffrey Njoku and Samuel Kaalu, supported that media dialogue was necessary to expose the malnutrition status in the country.

Meanwhile, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has commenced the provision of extensive water and toilet projects in Cross River and Abia states to tackle epidemic outbreak.

The project, which is in partnership with Coca-Cola Foundation and others, has commenced the construction of boreholes, toilet and health facilities in the communities.Some of the projects were commissioned at the weekend in Government Primary School at Ndong Nwong community, in Odukpani Local Council Area.

The rural Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support project is funded through Water and Development Alliance (WADA) mechanism, a global partnership by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and The Coca-Cola Fundation (TCCF).

Included are Global Environment and Technology Foundation (GETF) and Partners for Development (PTF), implementing partners in Nigeria. USAID Mission Director, Mr. Stephen Haykin, said the project was to promote access to clean water and sanitation to targeted schools, markets and medical clinics in the two states.

The Country Programme Director, (PFD), Mr. Ediri Iruaga also called on the members of the community to take good care of the facilities.

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