Estimated 2.6 million Nigerian children under the age of five suffer from severe acute malnutrition every year, that makes them likely to die from common illnesses such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria, United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has said.
Kaduna state with 1.6 million children under five, has 4.1% population severely malnourished, 47% are stunted, 11.7% are wasting and 34% are underweight.
Addressing a one-day meeting with local government chairmen and their wives on nutrition intervention in Kaduna state organised by Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) on Tuesday in Kaduna, Unicef said malnutrition accounts for 50% of under-five deaths in Nigeria, hence it’s decision to support the establishment of three more CMAM sites in Soba, Lere and Giwa LGAs.
Unicef Kaduna Chief of Field Officer, Zakari Adam said, “Adequate nutrition is one of the infrastructure for a steady growth and economy development of any nation. Investing in nutrition is fundamental to economic and human development.
“About half of the child mortality occurring could be attributable to malnutrition. Thus, nutrition plays a central role in averting deaths of children. Malnourished children tend to have lower intelligent quotient and impaired cognitive ability with resultant negative effect on their performance in school and productivity in later life. Investment in nutrition will help reverse this negative trend and boost our GDP.”
Wife of Kaduna state Governor and Chairperson of KADENAP, Hajiya Aisha Ummi Garba El-Rufai, in her address urged the local government chairmen and their wives to take ownership of the programme and see their intervention as helping humanity, noting that nobody would like to have any of the malnourished children as their own.