UNICEF declares 34,512 children severely malnourished in Adamawa
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), has disclosed that no fewer than 34,512 children in Adamawa State are severely malnourished, a situation it described as “high prevalence” and unacceptable.
In a press statement yesterday, the Chief Field Officer, Bauchi Field Office, UNICEF Nigeria, Abdulai Kaikai, said the figure emanated from the Standardised Monitoring and Assessment of Relief and Transition (SMART) exercise recently carried out by the organisation.
Kaikai said unless the situation is urgently addressed, the mortality rate of the children “will increase by nine folds compared to well-nourished children.”
He noted that there is an immediate need to ensure that the lives of children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are saved.
The chief field officer disclosed that the nutrition survey conducted in 2015 in the region showed that only 18% of children under-six months were exclusively breastfed in Adamawa.
“Children from 0-6 months, who are not breast-fed have 5 and 7 times risk of dying from pneumonia and diarrhea respectively,” he added.
According to him, “There is an immediate need to improve Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, promote exclusive breast feeding with adequate complementary foods, until 24 months and beyond.”
He also emphasised the “need for improvement of hygiene practices, which constitute the most effective preventive interventions to prevent acute malnutrition and reducing child morbidity and mortality.”
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