According to the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) over 13 million children are suffering from chronic malnutrition in the country and out of which 300,000 children could die in 2016 alone if they were not treated. UNICEF ‘s Chief Nutritionist in Nigeria, Arjan de Wagt said this during a gathering in Abuja.
Reading out a report of her group, the National Coordinator of Civil Society Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Philippa Momah, said more than 1.6 million Nigerian children between six months and five years were suffering from severe acute malnutrition.
“These children are nine times more likely to die than well nourished children.Without treatment, do you know that about 300,000 of these children will die in 2016 alone? On the foregoing, we call on the Federal, State and Local Governments to create nutrition specific budget lines in the Ministries of Health, Education and Agriculture at the Federal States and LGA levels in Nigeria.We call on them to develop nutrition plan and action.”
Mr Wagt is, however, hopeful that if drastic commitments were made, most of the malnourished children would survive.Both UNICEF and a coalition of Civil Society Organisations called on the Federal Government to act by making funds available for the treatment of malnourished children.
UNICEF is a United Nations programme that provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.