As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic which resulted in a complete lockdown of the entire Country/World, the aftermath effect is beginning to tell on lives and livelihoods as most families due to poverty, hunger and lack of resources are unable to feed themselves properly or seek health care thereby resulting in more severe forms of Malnutrition in communities. The Commissioner for health Dr Betta Edu has started going to remote communities with the Nutrition Taskforce in continuation of the Maternal, Newborn and Children Health (MNCH) week to search for these severely malnourished children as part of the Monitoring/Surveillance process as our children remains a priority to the Government.
In a bid to address this issue of severe malnutrition in remote communities, the Cross River State Government has launched a nutrition monitoring Taskforce headed by the the State Commissioner for Health Dr Betta Edu whose function is to go round for monitoring and surveillance where they can identify affected children in communities. “We are faced with an uncommon situation in the State and as such the Government of Sen Prof Ben Ayade will leave no stone unturned until such children are located and given proper medical treatment and attention”.
The state Government is also working on creating more job opportunities for young people to get employed. In the words of the Governor “We will not only protect lives during this COVID-19 Pandemic, but we must deliberately work to protect Livelihood.”
Today we’ve discovered over five cases of Marasmus and we’ll keep searching for more while attending to these ones. You can play a great role by calling the State’s attention to such Children. This is a wake up call for our Development partners working in the Child and Nutritional Health space to do more in support of Government.
“Marasmus is a form of malnutrition that occurs when there’s a low intake of nutrients and energy thereby resulting in the child losing weight, fat and muscles. As a State we can’t remember when last we had such cases because our people readily have access to foods containing Carbohydrates and protein etc.
These kids Sylvester Offiong and Emmanuel Sunday Akpan born on November 2018 and February 2019 respectively never had any medical attention nor care due to lack of finances as ascertained by both Mothers. The Ayade Care Insurance Scheme which is more like a social scheme will help these group of families access medical care free of charge.
We also had Shedrack Joseph and Isaac Joseph who are also suffering from marasmic- Kwashiorkor, they too have been taken to General Hospital Calabar for proper medical care/attention without any charges and to sustain this, all the affected Mothers will be provided with a running business to enable them feed their children and live a comfortable life after treatment at GHC is concluded. As a Government we’ll not allow our children to die as a result of Malnutrition so the search for this precious ones continues.
On their part, the Mothers of the Children Miss Imabong Sunday and Esther Offiong who spoke on behalf of others said they are all unemployed Mothers. They thanked the State Governor Sen Prof Ben Ayade and the Health Commissioner Dr Betta Edu for coming to their rescue as all hope was lost.
The state government is calling on the Federal Government and Development partners to support State with more useful health interventions and basic resources targeted at these health challenges in communities especially as the effect of the COVID-19 lockdown is beginning to tell on our people and a lot of persons need help. Dr Edu supported all families with bags of rice, toiletries and cash donations as the search continues.