UNICEF nutrition specialist, Mrs Ngozi Onuora, lamented over the 24 percent of children under five in Benue State with stunted growth, notwithstanding that it is the food basket of the nation.
She made this known in Makurdi on Thursday at the first coordination and partnership meeting between UNICEF, development partners and stakeholders in investments in nutrition.
She said the 24 percent meant that 292,492 children under five years were stunted and explained that it meant that one child out of every four children in the state was stunted.
The nutrition specialist also noted that the underweight prevalence rate in children in the state was 13.6 percent, stressing that the acute malnutrition rate of children under five years in the state was 3.8 percent.
“Unfortunately, malnutrition has become a silent emergency and this silent emergency receives far too little attention.
“UNICEF is committed to working with all partners in government and other UN agencies, the media, the civil society, and the private sector to help propel this global movement forward.’’
She said that investments in scaling up nutrition would yield immediate returns, stressing that it would save lives and enable children and their mothers to have better futures.
In her remarks, Executive Secretary, Benue State Primary Health Care Board, Mrs Grace Wende, said the board was already advocating for good food and adequate nutrition for children and pregnant women.
In another submission, WHO Coordinator in Benue, Dr. Abdulkarim Mohammed, said nutrition should be getting serious attention because diabetes and obesity were fast becoming nagging health challenges globally.
The Director General of the Benue Planning Commission, Mr Sam Unom, assured that the Commission would support all positive issues relating to nutrition for the overall good of Benue citizens.
He promised to present a memo on nutrition to the State Executive Council before the end of the second week of September.
Source: Voice of Nigeria