Nigeria: Malnutrition – Over 1000 Children Die Daily, Says FMH

More than 2300 children, under the age of five, die daily in Nigeria, with malnutrition accounting for over half of the deaths, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMH) has disclosed.

At a three-day UNICEF Media Dialogue on Child Malnutrition in Kano, the Principal Nutrition Officer, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Faraibi Tokunbo, revealed that the National Nutrition Health Survey of 2015 by the Federal Ministry of Health puts the number of children with Acute Malnutrition in Northern Nigeria at over a million.

The Federal Government was also urged to declare a state of emergency on child malnutrition. This formed part of a communique issued at the end of a similar forum held at the De Legend Hotel, Owerri, Imo State.

The occasion, which featured presentations by experts on nutrition interventions in Nigeria, malnutrition and its impact on children, advocated increased resources for nutrition programmes.

Participants reviewed the Nigerian situation and visited some malnourished children at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri. They called on government to declare a state of emergency on child malnutrition, as findings have shown that over 2.5 million children suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) yearly in Nigeria, with about 20 per cent of these at the risk of imminent death unless there is quick intervention.

The Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN), meanwhile, has called on government to boost Public Health Laboratories with equipment that “rapidly detect, diagnose and simplify the identification of putative reservoir hosts.” This, it said, is one of the means of tackling and preventing infectious diseases in the country.

This was contained in a communique issued, yesterday, at the end of the 51st Annual Scientific Conference of the association, organised by the Lagos State branch at the National Orthopedic Hospital, Yaba.

The communique, jointly signed by Abiodun Hamzat, Seyi Adeyemi and Olumide Fadipe – branch Chairman, Secretary and Public Relations Officer (PRO), respectively, noted that though the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration has taken steps to reposition the health sector in the country, more still needs to be done.

The conference themed: Spread of Infectious Diseases in an Increasing Population – Effects and the Way Forward, identified factors responsible for re-emerging communicable diseases as: poor hygiene and sanitation, overcrowding, sharing of personal items such as equipment used for tattooing, piercing, drug use, etc.

It recommend adequate surveillance and response, drugs vaccines at affordable cost, and improved socio-economic conditions that support provision of required amenities as some of the measures that would help tackle infectious diseases in the country.

Furthermore, it called on the Federal Government to carry out a “comprehensive screening programme for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in camps, because they could serve as a source of re-emergence of communicable diseases.”

Speaking to The Guardian after the event, the Chairman, Hamzat, pleaded with government to comply with various court injunctions in the association’s favour.

Source: The Guardian

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