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05.12.2018 16:28 News >> 35M Nigerian Under-Five Suffer Malnutrition: Expert

35M Nigerian Under-Five Suffer Malnutrition: Expert

Boko Haram is ‘major driver’ of malnutrition crisis in northeastern Nigeria, says nutrition consultant with UNICEF.

At least 35 million children under age of five suffer from malnutrition in Nigeria, a UNICEF nutrition expert said on Wednesday, warning against its threat on country's future.

Davis Bamidele Omotola, a nutrition consultant with UNICEF, United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, said the malnutrition in various forms mostly affects children in Nigeria's insurgency-wracked northeast -- especially in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Omotola said 25 million children under-five are "wasted" due to malnutrition and might die if no urgent steps are taken to revive them through appropriate interventions.

He added that additional 10 million children suffer from stunting -- another form of malnutrition -- and may not make any headway in life.

Children who suffer wasting may also be a victim of stunting at the same time, according to Omotola.

"One in six children in northeastern [Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states] suffer from severe malnutrition. Indeed, one in every two children are stunted in the region," he said.

The specialist called for urgent reforms and interventions on the issue during a two-day media dialogue on Community Management of Acute Malnutrition for conflict-affected children in the northeastern Nigeria.

The event -- co-organized by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the Information and Culture Ministry, UNICEF and the Department for International Development, a U.K. government department for administering overseas aid, -- was attended by dozens of journalists, as well as UNICEF and government officials.

- Boko Haram, 'major driver' of malnutrition crisis

Omotola said the Boko Haram crisis has been a "major driver" of the malnutrition in the region as the militancy has led to high food insecurity and the the spread of endemic diseases.

It also caused low convergence of programs targeting children with moderate acute malnutrition, limited dietary diversity, loss of livelihoods and disruption of access to quality water and optimal sanitation, he added.

Olumide Osanyinpeju, the head of CRIB, called on the journalist to raise awareness for malnutrition in Nigeria.

"It is necessary that awareness should be created among Nigerian populace especially for mothers. Adequate attention should be given to the nutrition of women, especially the pregnant, to reduce severe and acute malnutrition," he said.

Sam Kaluu, a communication officer at UNICEF, said the event is meant to solicit media's support in fight against child malnutrition in the region and define the roles of media during the ongoing campaign. -



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