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Health Alert: 1.5m Children at risk of malnutrition in Kano


*Kano State, in North-West of Nigeria, battles malnutrition over estimated 1.5 million children under five years with stunted growth, representing over 10 percent of about 19.8 million children in Nigeria  that are malnourished making the highest burden of stunting in Africa and the second highest in the world, according to Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

Nigeria has about 19.8 million children who are malnourished, giving the country the highest burden of stunting in Africa and the second highest in the world, the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey has revealed.

It was gathered about 70 percent of children under five are anaemic as child nutrition is core to human capital development in the West African country.

This scenario indicates an urgent crisis that needs to be addressed by the authorities and other stakeholders, especially in the health sector of the economy.

Kano State alone in the North-West has 1.5 million children under five years of age who are stunted, representing over 10 percent of the country’s burden, report said.

During a visit to Ungwan Ukwu Primary Healthcare Centre in Kano, children under five years were observed receiving medical attention for acute malnutrition and other related ailments, reports Channels TV.

The faces of the children told of the scourge of malnutrition, particularly in our rural communities.

Arira Umar, whose three-year-old son Ahmed was severely malnourished, could not sit or stand, according to report.

The situation was the same with Abdulmalik, who was 18 months but had the weight of a three-month-old child.

Abdulmalik’s mother came all the way from Katsina State to seek treatment for him.

The children are among several captured in a recent survey on infant and young child feeding practices in children aged 0 to 23 months.

It is also noted that the situation in Kano State is dire as only 10.1 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed.

It was learnt that 15.7 percent of them are fed with minimum diet diversity, and a mere 10.6 percent receive food from animal sources such as meat, milk and eggs.

Donor organisations are collaborating with the Kano Ministry of Health to bring treatment for malnourished children and have treated over 50,000 children so far but the challenge is enormous.

Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RTF) is often deployed at the centre but was insufficient to meet the huge demand.

Sensitisation on good nutrition, proper breastfeeding

The challenges notwithstanding, the Kano State Nutrition Coordinator said the government was willing to tackle malnutrition.

Education of mothers would be key, the Matron of the Angwan-Ukwu Health Centre, Hasiya Yerima, said that mothers who visit the facility are sensitised on good nutrition from proper breastfeeding.

Besides, for those who make it to health facilities like this, there is hope still, report noted.

Recovering Farida, who was breastfeeding her late sister’s child, and Amina, a mother of twins, could smile as their children had become playful once again.

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