The United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, has disclosed that over 2.5 million Nigerian children are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM.
UNICEF Chief of Communications Doune Porter, warns that 20 percent of the number could die if urgent steps were not taken address the issue, adding that statistics shows that one out of five children were malnourished and two out of three in Nigeria were not being given the right food.
At a two day media dialogue on Child Nutrition with the theme, “Good Nutrition- An Investment for the Future”, Porter said the development was a serious issue that required the attention of both government and all stakeholders in the health sector.
Porter says that “Malnutrition has become a public health emergency in Nigeria”, and the problem was not restricted to the north eastern part of the country where activities of insurgents were prevalent but a major challenge in all parts of Nigeria.
She enjoined the Nigerian government to invest more in children nutrition, adding that Nigeria is quite a huge country that requires many hands on deck to address the nutrition challenges in all parts of the country.
While regretting that the world body could not reach all Nigerian children in its intervention efforts, Porter says the UNICEF cannot be in every part of the country all the time but through small intervention, they can make a good effect on how to tackle malnutrition through evidence based approach.
Porter further called on government at all levels to invest more in preventing cases of malnutrition in children because over 2.5 million Nigerian children are currently down with Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM which is actually a huge number.
She solicited for the cooperation of the media in tackling the situation which she noted was a major health challenge and one of the leading causes of infants’ mortality in the country.