'Nigeria ranks second with eleven million stunted children globally'
By Mohammad Ibrahim
June 18 (Kaduna) As the world marked the 2016 African Child day, Program Manager, Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria ( CS-SUNN), Sunday Okoronko said Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of Malnutrition and ranks second globally with about Eleven Million stunted Children.
According to the group, adequate and proper Nutrition is another fundamental Right of the African Child.
Speaking at a press conference organized by Partnership for Advocacy in Child and Family Health (PACFAH) which comprised of 8 leading civil society organizations ( CSOs) in the country to mark the day in Kaduna, Okonkwo said Unfortunately, African Children die daily due to preventable Malnutrition related illnesses.
He explained further that Malnutrition among Women and Children is a major challenge to Health and Human development of any Country. He said Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when people consistently do not consume or absorb the right amounts and types of Food and Essential Nutrients.
" Malnourished Children have an increased risk of disability and premature Death and are highly predisposed to infectious diseases. Nigeria has one of the highest burdens of Malnutrition Globally and ranks second globally with about Eleven Million stunted Children.
"The main indicator for malnutrition is stunting-when Children are too short for their age. Stunted Children have poor physical growth which is irreversible and associated with poor brain development and reduced School and work performance.
"Nationally the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) Results of 2013, reported at the National level shows; prevalence of Stunting Thirty-Seven percent (37%), Underweight Twenty-Nine (29%), and Wasting Eighteen (18%) in Children under five years old.
" In Kaduna State, Stunting is at Fifty-Six point Six percent (56.6%), Underweight Fifty-Seven point Six percent (57.6%), and Wasting Forty-Two (42%) in Children under five years old.
" This means Kaduna State with Fifty-Six point Six percent (56.6%) Stunting has the third highest number of Stunted Children under-5 years of age in Nigeria after Kebbi with Sixty-One percent (61%) and Katsina and Jigawa with Fifty-Nine (59%) respectively.
"The renewed international focus and donor commitment to address malnutrition has prompted the Nigerian Government to implement new policies and initiatives, culminating in the development of National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN) 2014 -2019 which sets out Nutrition-specific.
" The document, if adopted and fully implemented, at the State and Local Government Area levels, will by 2019 reduce Stunting by Twenty percent (20%), reduce Childhood Wasting by Fifteen percent (15%) and increase Exclusive Breast Feeding in the first six months by Fifty percent (50%)," he said.
Okonkwo added with an appealed to bother federal and states governments to address the problem " We urge Governments at the National and State levels to adopt the National Strategic Plan of Action (NSPAN);implement the NSPAN with specific focus on Maternal and Child Nutrition component of the plan.
" Create of specific budget line on Nutrition across relevant institutions, encourage Exclusive Breast Feeding, adoption and effective implementation of the costed NSPAN at all levels to combat endemic Malnutrition in the Country.
" Increase funding for Maternal and Child Nutrition at the Ministries of Health and Agriculture; Ensure prompt release and effective management of budgeted funds to promote accountability and transparency in Government spending on Nutrition," he said.