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Kebbi govt moves to save children, pregnant women from malnutrition

By The Citizen
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The Kebbi State Government has earmarked N100 million as counterpart fund to combat malnutrition in the state.

Gov. Atiku Bagudu disclosed this in Birnin Kebbi on Friday when he received the Chief Nutritionist of UNICEF, Mr Arjan Dewatt.

Bagudu said the fight against malnutrition would be jointly executed with UNICEF’s Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINN) initiative.

He explained that the collaboration would reduce maternal and child mortality.

He said the effort was also aimed at improving the nutritional status of pregnant and women children under five years in the state.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Babale Umar, the governor assured the partners of his commitment to improve healthcare delivery in the state.

He appreciated the efforts made by WINN in combating malnutrition and maternal mortality.

“We are making efforts to ensure that the primary healthcare becomes a law in the state,” Bagudu said.

Dewatt had earlier said: “Some 500,000 children of the 800,000 children under five years old in Kebbi are stunted – far more than the national average.

“At least 90,500 children six to 59 months are severely malnourished and are nine times likely to die – without treatment an estimated 17,400 of these are likely to die this year.''

He said 77,000 children aged between zero to six months did not get exclusive breast feeding, describing the synergy as the most cost effective intervention to prevent malnutrition and save lives.

“The records indicated that 174,000 of the 200,000 pregnant women in the state do not take iron supplements to prevent anaemia and stillbirth,” he added.

Dewatt described the partnership with the state as a success, stressing that 88,000 women were counselled on breastfeeding and young child feeding in 2011.

“In 2015,16,000 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition; 30,000 pregnant women received iron Folate; 391 health workers and more than 2,000 community volunteers trained in nutrition in the state with WINN support, and 35,000 children treated with Zinc/ORS in the state,'' he added.

He commended the Kebbi government for its commitment to the programme. (NAN)