From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
United Nations (UN) has raised the alarm over state of child malnutrition in the war-ravaged North East states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, warning that posterity of the region is under threat.
The UN said malnutrition which is the underlying cause of nearly half of all deaths in under-five children globally, is currently the biggest threat to child survival and development in the North-East.
The UN through its agency, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), said cases of malnutrition in the region have assumed an alarming situation, hence the call for improved local and international interventions to salvage the posterity of the region.
UNICEF Chief of Field in Maiduguri, Borno State, Samuel Sesay, told journalists at a media dialogue in Maiduguri, yesterday, that years of insurgency that led to the destruction of communities and displacement of residents, as well as other factors, have contributed to the devastating state of malnutrition in the North East.
“Households in the North East are experiencing unprecedented levels of food crisis and hunger. Household food insecurity, poor infant and young child feeding and care practices, as well as poor feeding environment, hygiene, and health services have been identified as the underlying causes of malnutrition or undernutrition in children. In North-East Nigeria, however, conflict, multiple displacement, destruction of sources of livelihood for households, destruction of basic infrastructure and services, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic have been identified as peculiar contributors to the growing number of children affected by malnutrition or undernutrition.”
He said good nutrition was important on children’s development as it had far-reaching impact on child education and health.
“Therefore, it is unacceptable that children continue to bear the greatest burden of conflict, climate change and COVID-19. Ensuring good nutrition in children helps families and is a cheaper route to nation building.”
He reaffirmed the commitment of UNICEF to support government and non-government partners in the North East on early detection, referral and management of severe acute malnutrition in children.