From Femi Oyelola, Kaduna
The National Bureau for Statistics has stated that there is increase in child malnutrition in Nigeria even as it stated that the country has recorded visible drop in infant mortality. This is contained in the fifth Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS5), conducted in 2016 and 2017.
The survey results showed that Nigeria made significant improvements in some areas while others remain unchanged or have worsened since 2011 by not keeping pace with population growth when the last survey was conducted.
According to the results, the infant mortality rate drop to 70 per 1000 live births from 97 in 2011. Equally, deaths among children under age five have dropped to 120 per 1000 live births from 158 in 2011.
“However, malnutrition among children under age five has worsened nationwide with the highest concerns in northern states. Child wasting (children who are too thin for their age) increased from 24.2 per cent to 31.5 per cent, while child stunting (children who are too short for their age) increased from 34.8 per cent to 43.6 per cent.
“MICS5 is a recognized and definitive source of information for assessing the situation of children and women in the areas of Health, Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Education, Protection; and HIV/AIDS amongst others – in Nigeria as well as in other countries where it is carried out.
“The findings of the survey are used for planning, monitoring and decision making on programmes and policies to address issues related to the well-being of children and women in Nigeria,
“The use of this new MICS5 data will improve the lives of Nigerians by informing about important gaps that are impacting children and women so that appropriate actions can be taken”.
Speaking on the data, the Acting Representative for UNICEF in Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, said it is not about data for the sake of date; saying, since 1995, UNICEF has supported the National Bureau for Statistics (NBS), with technical assistance and funding to conduct five rounds of MICS, informing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SGs) and other major national and global commitments.