Fred Ezeh, Abuja
The European Union (EU) has estimated that no fewer than 280,000 children under the age of five in Sokoto and Zamfara states are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), a life-threatening condition.
The EU says that children are particularly vulnerable to SAM due to poor vaccination rates against common childhood illnesses, in addition to regular outbreaks of cholera, yellow fever, meningitis and other epidemics in both states, with malaria endemic and measles recurrent.
One of the leading contributors of humanitarian aid in Nigeria, the EU has since 2014 allocated almost €245 million in humanitarian services to Nigeria, including €28 million released earlier in 2019.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, in a statement released in Abuja on Wednesday, confirmed that the EU has allocated a fresh €300 000 (N102 million) in humanitarian aid to provide life-saving treatment to undernourished children in Sokoto and Zamfara states, where violence and forced displacement are leading to a further deterioration of the health situation.
The EU Commissioner said the funds would allow the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provide undernourished children and their mothers with immediate nutritional treatment.
He further disclosed that mobile health teams would be sent to strengthen the capacity of health workers in delivering comprehensive basic health care services, including supportive medical supervision.
Stylianides said that EU has stepped up its humanitarian assistance in Nigeria in order to address, without delay, the menace of child nutrition emergencies being faced by people in the northwest.
The Commissioner was optimistic that increased funding would contribute to the provision of treatment for children and improved access to basic health care services.