Nigeria : 11 million children stunted.. UNICEF
By Mohammad Ibrahim
Oct 10 Abuja : United Nations Children's Fund said over 11 million children in Nigeria are stunted and a huge drain on the future of the country. A statement signed by Doune Porter UNICEF's Chief of Communication said every state in Nigeria has malnutrish children, particularly Northern Nigeria. UNICEF said chronic malnutrition can lead to stunting, leaving children physically or mentally under-developed for the rest of their lives. Doune explained steps to prevent children becoming malnourished to include supporting and encouraging mothers to breastfeed their babies exclusively for the first six months of life.
Educating families about the correct feeding practices for older babies and children; and provision of micronutrient supplements and vitamins and fortified food for pregnant women and young children. "Children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition need medical treatment. An innovative and cost-effective way of treating malnourished children was first introduced in 2009 and has since expanded to 12 northern states. "This Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programme has treated over two million children since it was first introduced in Nigeria, at a cost of just US$160 per child.
"Treatment generally lasts for about eight weeks, during which mothers and care-givers of children suffering from SAM bring their children once a week to a primary health care facility. "where they are given advice and information about how to care for their malnourished children and supplied with packages of Ready-To-use-Therapeutic Food – known as RUTF – which gives malnourished children the critical nutrients they need to recover, " the statement said. A Lagos-based Nigerian company, DABS, has recently received international certification to produce RUTF for the treatment of SAM, so the provision of RUTF will no longer be dependent on imports. Wife of Nigeria's President, Aisha Buhari, is leading the charge among Nigeria's influential Wives of Governors to join her in becoming champions to address the country's ongoing nutrition crisis.
Mrs. Buhari, who established her 'Future Assured' campaign to end child malnutrition in Nigeria two years ago, spent Monday working with Government agencies, UNICEF and partners to advocate for improved healthcare and nutrition for women and children. The British charity the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF), which has provided almost US$60 million to cover the cost of CMAM in Nigeria's 12 northern states since 2013, has issued a challenge to the leaders of those states to fulfil their commitment to provide counterpart funding and even to go beyond. According to them, If the states are able to raise US$16million to fund SAM treatment in 2017 and 2018, CIFF has pledged to provide and additional matching US$16 million.
The Oslo Times International News Network