UNICEF tasks Nigerian authorities to eradicate malnutrition among children under 5 yrs
By Mohammad Ibrahim
March 23,Kaduna: UNICEF Kaduna Field Office Nutrition Specialist Dr. Florence Oni, has called on Nigerian government and other stakeholders to help reduce or eradicate malnutrition among children under 5 years in the country.
She made the plea at a one day retreat on Malnutrition with the theme: "Malnutrition the Major Cause of Under 5-Morbdity and Mortality in Kaduna State a call for Action".
The retreat was organised by Kaduna Staite ministries of Local Government, Health and Human Services in collaboration with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), for Nutrition policy Makers in the state.
Dr Florence emphasized that the idea for the retreat is to foster synergy among policy makers and nutrition stakeholders in the reduction of malnutrition.
According to her, every stakeholder has a role to play in actualizing the nutrition target and charged both state and LGAs to be responsible in stamping out malnutrition from the state.
She equally urged the Local Government Areas to put every necessary infrastructure in place, while challenging health workers to be committed in providing quality services by ensuring that drugs and materials provided get to the children they are met for.
Earlier, Kaduna State Commissioner of Health and Human Services, Professor Andrew Jonathan Nok, disclosed that over 57% of children born in Kaduna are malnourished which represents more than half of them and that 41.7% of them are severely stunted.
According to him, "recent survey have shown that 57% of children and malnurished and 41.7% of them are severely stunted in Kaduna State.
"Micronutrients deficiency such as vitamin A and iodine is also common among these women (27.8%) due to poor intake. The malnutrition has also affected women significantly as 6.2% of our women in Kaduna state are malnurished and 23.4% have deficiency in iron."
Professor Nok who was represented at the retreat by Dr. Ado Zakari, Director Public Health of the state Ministry of Health, added that "Malnutrition among children constitute 50% of the underlying causes of many communicable and non communicable life-threatning diseases."
He noted that malnutrition is one of the major cause of morbidity and mortality in the northern part of the country, saying "nutrition issues are multifactorial in nature and therefore require multi-sectorial approach in tackling the problems associated with it."
In his remarks, Commissioner for Local Government who was also represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Ibrahim Sambo said the theme of the retreat is timely for policy makers and health managers in the state for implementation.He commended UNICEF for its contributions and support in the prevention and eradication of malnutrition in the state, adding that "I want to assure you that the ministry will live up to its responsibilities in supporting all the LGA to implement health and other social welfare services meant to better the lives of of our people."
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