From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
In a bid to tackle rising cases of acute malnutrition among children in the state, the Enugu State Government in collaboration with the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) has established three Centres for Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in the State.
The state nutrition officer, Dr Henrietta Ugwu, made this known in Enugu while speaking at a one-day media engagement workshop organised by Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition (CS-SUNN) in Enugu.
Dr Ugwu who revealed that acute malnutrition was a major challenge in the State said that through UNICEF and the Federal Ministry of Health, the state was able to set up the CMAM centres which are located in Obollo-Afor, Abakpa Nike and Oji River.
‘Children are still very much malnourished in Enugu State. Children still go to bed hungry and we have malnourished children scattered all over the Local Governments in the State. There is no Local Government that does not have malnourished children,’ she said.
‘Currently in Enugu State, with the assistance of the Federal Ministry of Health and UNICEF, by March this year, we were able to establish three centres where malnourished children are taken care of.
‘And since these three centres were established, we have been recording numbers of malnourished children even with the intensive routine immunisation that we have carried. We just came out of the second round of modified integrated medical outreach.’
She said that though the CMAM centre has been of immense help in addressing the situation, more centres are urgently needed in all the Local Government Areas of the State, noting that it was the only way the State can overcome the challenge of acute malnutrition among children in the State.
‘You see, we need to scale-up these CMAM centres to the rest of the Local Governments because malnutrition is not just in those three Local Governments where they are currently situated.
‘From the reports and the referees that we’ve been getting, from other Local Governments, you see that we have them so high in the rest of the Local Government and these ones are indigent families. When you refer them to another local government the issue is who transports them.’
On his part, the Enugu State Coordinator of CS-SUNN, Dr Chuka Agunwa, revealed that the State Government has accepted to work with a five-year nutrition budget line which will go a long way in addressing the issue malnutrition in the State.