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Federal Government Lauds UNICEF, DFID intervention on child malnutrition

By Olawale Oyegbade, The Nigerian Voice, Osogbo
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The Federal Government has lauded the intervention of the United Nation's Children Fund (UNICEF) and the Department for International Development (DFID) in dealing with child malnutrition in the country.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed commended UNICEF and DFID for supporting government in its efforts to stop malnutrition in the country.

He gave the commendation in Maiduguri, Borno state today at a media dialogue organised by the Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB) of the ministry in collaboration with UNICEF and DFID with the theme "Integrated and Timely Response to Nutrition-related Humanitarian Needs in Nigeria".

He was represented by the CRIB's Deputy Director, Mr Olumide Osanyinpeju. He said all hands must be on deck to deal with child malnutrition in the country.

According to him "May I first of all commend UNICEF for their contributions and partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, and for the consistent effort being made to ensure that the wellbeing of Nigerian children are promoted."

"We commend UNICEF for all activities being carried out to ensure that malnutrition is curbed and children in Nigeria receive the proper nutrition they need to keep them healthy and grow into well-formed adults capable of driving the affairs of the nation."

He noted that the future of Nigeria depends on producing children who are well prepared to take their place in tomorrow’s society.

"Unfortunately, a large number of these children are at risk of deprivation of basic social amenities, of which nutrition is inclusive; and especially in the Northern rural and hard-to-reach communities."

"Majority of these children are also living in conflict, and communities under emergencies, and it has been difficult taking indeed all basic amenities to them."

"This, therefore, calls to mind the need for us to specifically address malnutrition in children because it directly impacts on their survival and development," he said.

Speaking on the significance of the Media Dialogue, he urged journalists to report malnutrition issue in a way that will prompt necessary actions to end it.

UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Abigael Nyukuri in her presentation gave shining revelations on child malnutrition and called for urgent action to stop it.

She said nearly half of all child deaths globally was caused by malnutrition. Nyukuri said an estimated 2.5 million children under the age of 5 suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Nigeria every year.

She warned that the situation should be taken as an emergency and dealt with holistically so as to safe lives of millions of children.

Nyukuri noted that 5billion naira is needed to procure Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition.