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Published On: Tue, Dec 25th, 2018

CISLAC: Over 2.5m Nigerian children suffer severe malnutrition

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By Musa Adamu

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) has cried out that an estimated 2.5 million Nigerian children suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) annually, thereby exposing 420,000 children under five years to early death from common diseases.
As a result, the Centre called on governments at various levels to pay up the counterpart funding to take advantage of matching funds by development partners before its expiration date of December 31, 2018.
Addressing the media in Abuja, the Center said the future of the country looked bleak with the huge number of children under the age of five who were unlikely to see their fifth anniversary.
Painting the unfavourable picture indices on state by state basis, it explained that survey by the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) 2018 shows that the highest prevalence of global acute malnutrition based on middle upper arm circumference (MUAC) was recorded in Zamfara state, followed by Katsina and Sokoto states while tgw lowest was recorded in Imo state followed by Anambra, Bayelsa and Delta states with Zero Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
It further said Kaduna, Jigawa, Katsina, Sokoto and Yobe states toped the league of states with highest SAM rates by MUAC.
It said: “ for instance, Kano state records the highest number of stunted children with 1.4 million in the north. “
Similarly, it said “in Katsina state, while it costs N21, 300 to cure SAM child in 2017, no fewer than 13, 676 SAM children were saved from the state government-UNICEF intervention through community management of SAM (CSAM) activities in the state.
“In 2017, Kaduna state recorded 17,989 children admitted to CMAN put of which 11, 324 were cured, 1515 defaulted, 214 not recovered and 150 died as reported by multiple indicators cluster survey, 2017.”
It said Nasarawa state falls within the worst had t region on malnutrition with “ 37. 2% stunting, 6.8% wasting and 20.7% underweight rates of children under five (NDHS 2013). In 2017, no fewer than 33 children reportedly died from acute malnutrition in the state.’
It further said Sokoto state “ ranks among 12 northern states in Nigeria with high malnutrition prevalence, thereby putting the state at risk socio- economic set back. The lacks in adequate fulfilment of its counterpart funding to match agreed UNICEF intervention to address malnutrition scourge. “
The address these grim reality therefore, the Center called on the various governments to release funds committed to treatment of SAM in the 2108 budget, include treatment of SAM in the 2018 budget and prioritize establishment of community management of acute malnutrition program.
It further called for expansion of the existing CMAN programs to additional prioritize LGAs in various states for adequate coverage, strengthen relevant committees at national and state houses of assembly with special focus on nutrition and prioritize full implementation of the National Health Act, 2014 to promote adequate, accessible and affordable health primary health care.
The Center also wants increase focus on prevention, such as community based approach, support early child development centres across the country and ensure full implementation if Child Rights Act to effect adequate status as a Child Right.

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