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UNICEF- Nigeria insecurity spur malnutrition

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By Abdulwasiu Usman

Government needs to appropriately integrate nutrition into the health systems.

Malnutrition is one of world’s major public health and development concerns. Currently in Nigeria, the situation is dire particularly in the northern region. According to a report in 2020, Nigeria has a national prevalence rate of 32% of children under five. The United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF) has identified insecurity as one of the factors propelling malnutrition in Nigeria. It, therefore cautioned that the country’s development efforts would amount to nothing if proactive measures were not taken to curb the menace.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two million children in Nigeria are suffering with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), yet only two out of every ten of these children are receiving treatment for their condition. SAM is identified to be the most severe and visible manifestation of malnutrition. Even as studies reveal that 10–20% of Nigerian women are undernourished, acute malnutrition affects only 7% of women of reproductive age in the nation.

Nigeria ranked highest in Africa on the malnutrition list.

Women lack the resources to break the cycle of malnutrition in Nigeria despite the fact that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life provides a unique gap of chance to prevent undernutrition and its effects. In a recent UN report, stating that 14.5 million Nigerians need immediate assistance to meet their nutritional requirement.  This has caused concern among experts that malnutrition affecting children’s conditions and may worsen symptoms. According to a report, one-third of the nation’s children are underweight, and one-tenth of them are wasted, putting the country well off track to meet SDG 2 by 2030, which aims to end all forms of hunger.

UNICEF Nutrition Specialist Mrs. Ngozi Onuora, raised the concern about the malnutrition in the country during a Community of Practice workshop on Building Capacity to Mainstream Nutrition into Investment Agenda, said Nigeria faced the prospect of not meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, with over 17 million malnutrition instances which ranked the country as the highest in Africa. She explains that nutrition being the central point for health, should be the anchor of every action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Government should prioritize the plan against malnutrition.

Mrs. Onuora continues that the governments, the private sector and the people in general should be made aware of their various contributions to scale up nutrition interventions and address the issues of stunting, wasting, underweight, and anemia deluging children and mothers across the country. She further emphasizes on the high burden in the northern part of the country, lamenting that malnutrition cases have always been prevalent in the region due to convergent action and the level of insecurity, especially in the Northeast, stating that even farm products are being affected by insecurity.

Additionally, she emphasized the importance of the government’s contribution in mitigating malnutrition, saying it can’t be compared to that of other organizations. She said that there is a need for the government to prioritize the plan, taking advantage of its medium and long-term strategic plans and multisectoral plans on nutrition health development system structures. Mrs. Onuora remarked that the most effective way to reduce malnutrition is to incorporate nutrition into health systems, Primary Healthcare initiatives, and basic healthcare providing budgets throughout all states. This will reduce malnutrition globally. This will sync with the global targets of reducing malnutrition.

The country is on track to curb malnutrition and its effects.

Global nutrition report shows that Nigeria is “on track” to reach the nutrition objective for maternal, infant, and young child (MIYCN). Nigeria has made some headway in reducing stunting, although 31.5% of children under 5 are still affected, which is more than the Africa average (30.7%). 28.7% of 0-5-month-old newborns are exclusively breastfed. Progress has also been made towards attaining the wasting objective, although 6.5% of children under 5 are still affected, which is more than the Africa average (6.0%).


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Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
1 year ago

If preventative actions were not done, the country’s development efforts would be for naught. The problem must be dealt with before further progress can be made.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

Researchers have found that SAM is the most severe and obvious form of malnutrition. Acute malnutrition affects only 7% of Nigerian women of reproductive age, despite the fact that 10-20% of Nigerian women are undernourished.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
1 year ago

Despite the fact that the first 1,000 days of a child’s life present a unique window of opportunity to prevent undernutrition and its impacts, Nigeria’s female population does not have the resources necessary to break the cycle of malnutrition that plagues the country.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
1 year ago

Incorporating nutrition into health systems, primary healthcare efforts, and basic healthcare giving budgets across all states is the most effective method for reducing malnutrition.

Abusi
Abusi
1 year ago

We really need to take Nutrition serious in our health system. Lot of Nigerians eat unhealthy food and this in turn affects the body system. UnICEF has been doing enough to enlighten people about this, but nothing has still been done.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
1 year ago

Insecurity of a nation comes with lot of unfavorable conditions which are not good for human and the environment.

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
1 year ago

Malnutrition is a issue to our heal system we need to treat it serious to stop malnutrition because it affect health. Not eating a good food affect the heal of the body, necessary thing need to be done to stop malnutrition our country is ranked highest in malnutrition that is unfair it should not not like that

Christiana
Christiana
1 year ago

While the first 1,000 days of a child’s life provide a window of opportunity to prevent undernutrition and its impacts, Nigerian women lack the resources to break the cycle of malnutrition.

Bola12
Bola12
1 year ago

One of the most significant problems facing the world’s public health and development is malnutrition.

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
1 year ago

The government must prioritize the plan, leveraging its medium and long-term strategic plans, as well as multisectoral strategies on nutrition health development system structures.

jdpumping
jdpumping
1 year ago

Just imagine Nigeria been ranked as the highest in malnutrition In Africa because if pervelance of Insecurities especially the northern parts,the government needs to save these children.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
1 year ago

We need to do something about this malnutrition. so many people are really suffering on this. whatever government need to do to help them, they should do

theApr
theApr
1 year ago

In a recent UN report, stating that 14.5 million Nigerians need immediate assistance to meet their nutritional requirement. This has caused concern among experts that malnutrition affecting children’s conditions and may worsen symptoms.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
1 year ago

Incorporating nutrition into existing health systems, primary healthcare efforts, and basic healthcare delivering budgets across all states is the most effective method for reducing malnutrition.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
1 year ago

Lot of Nigerians eat unhealthy food and this in turn affects the body system. UNICEF has been doing enough to enlighten people about this, but nothing has still been done.

Remi1
Remi1
1 year ago

The governments, the private sector and the people in general should be made aware of their various contributions to scale up nutrition interventions and address the issues of stunting, wasting, underweight, and anemia deluging children and mothers across the country.

Ultra0711
Ultra0711
1 year ago

The number counts for malnutrition is too high in Nigeria. Government needs to integrate nutrition provision in to the health system and set aside funds for it.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
1 year ago

significant burden in the country’s northern region, bemoaning the fact that malnutrition cases have always been widespread in the area due to the converging actions of multiple actors and the high level of insecurity,

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
1 year ago

budgets for providing even the most fundamental forms of healthcare in all jurisdictions. The world’s population will be healthier as a result. This will be in line with international goals for combating hunger.

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
1 year ago

Our federal and state government should raise to this occasion and completely eradicate insurgency, all forms of insecurity and every activities that threatens lives and properties in reduce the level of malnutrition among women and children.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

We have all it takes to be successful as a nation. Is it human and natural resources we have them. But our government has failed to defend her citizens against the insurgence presently plaguing the nation. Nepotism, tribalism, sectionalism e.t.c. are now the order of the day. We shouldn’t be having high level of malnutrition among our women and the children. Government should please do the needful.