From Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) said at least 3 million children in Nigeria northeast states affected by over a decade of insurgency will be screened for severe acute malnutrition and given food support through a new grant..
UNICEF Maiduguri Field Office in a statement on Monday said the Japanese Government announced $600, 000 (about aN250 million) new grant for the campaign against intervention among chikdren ages six months to five years (6 months –
“The new funds will help UNICEF work with mothers and other caregivers to boost community-based food production and the detection, referral and monitoring of children with severe acute malnutrition in Borno and Yobe,” it said.
It said children with severe acute malnutrition in the three BAY states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe were at significantly higher risk of death than well-nourished children.
The organisation said a recent survey revealed Borno, the heartland of a decade-long insurgency, has 10 percent malnutrition rates while its neighbouring sister state and, Yobe 12.3 rates, figures considered well above the five percent threshold globally recognised to be of public health significance.
It said the new grant will aid in early detection and prompt treatment of children suffering from acute malnutrition, build a strong network of community nutrition responders who can ensure quick referrals of malnourished children to health facilities, among others.
“We are deeply concerned that children in north-east Nigeria are not only suffering the direct effects of conflict – but are also suffering from other life-threatening consequences like malnutrition.
“The children’s situation worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic” said Mr. SHINOZAWA Takayuki, Chargé d’ Affaires at the Embassy of Japan in Nigeria on Monday.