Malnutrition threatens child survival, development in Northeast
Malnutrition threatens child survival, development in Northeast-UNICEF
Tada Jutha, Maiduguri
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Maiduguri Chief Field Officer, Samuel Sesay has said that malnutrition is the biggest threat to child ‘survival and development’ in the Northeast.
Sesay raised the alarm Tuesday at a three-day Media Dialogue on Child Malnutrition Reporting in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital.
According to him, malnutrition is the underlying cause of about 50 per cent of all deaths among children under five globally.
He, therefore, warned that malnutrition is currently the biggest threat to child ‘survival and development’ in insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe.
The 12-year insurgency has also killed 40,000 people with destroyed property worth $9.2 billion (N3.42 trillion) in the three affected states.
“Households in the region are experiencing unprecedented levels of food crisis and hunger,” he lamented.
He mainly attributed malnutrition in the region to household food insecurity, poor infant and young child feeding and care practices.
Sesay noted that poor feeding environment, hygiene, and health services have been identified as the underlying causes of under-nutrition in children.
“Conflict, however; in the region led to multiple displacements, destruction of sources of livelihood for households,” he said.
He added that the destruction of basic infrastructure and services, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the growing number of children affected by under-nutrition.
He noted that these had a far-reaching impact on child education, health, adult earning power, individual and family finance, as well as the country’s economy.
Sesay lamented that; “it is unacceptable that children continue to bear the greatest burden of conflict, climate change and COVID-19.
He insisted that ensuring good nutrition in children helps families and is a cheaper route to nation-building.