The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has again called for increased nutrition sector funding to check the child malnutrition rate across the country.
It also drew the government’s attention to data from the National Health Demographics indicating that about 12 million under-five children are still malnourished in Nigeria, with 1 in every 3 facing stunting and 3 million under-fives, wasted from poor nutrition.
While noting that malnutrition is currently widespread across Nigeria, even in areas hitherto affected, Nutrition Officer at UNICEF, Nkeiru Enwelum, in her submissions at a dialogue with journalists in Port-Harcourt, explained that funding gaps must be closed and investment in nutrition prioritised.
Enwelum warned that statistics on the state of health of the majority of Nigeria’s under-five children leave much to be desired and does not portend well for the country’s future.
In a presentation with the theme, ‘Investing in child malnutrition for the future,’ Enwelum explained that more funding is needed to urgently facilitate advocacy campaigns in remote communities and provide treatment for children with severe malnutrition.
”Government needs to put its own money into dealing with the issue of child nutrition in Nigeria.
”Funding nutrition means that children will have access to vitamin A supplementation and can be dewormed to prevent illnesses that undermine their development.
”It is cheaper to prevent malnutrition than to treat malnutrition, the government must prioritise prevention.
”Multi-sectoral action is also needed to ensure that all the sectors are working together and the health sector is delivering on all the nutrition interventions,” Enwelum said.