Latest data released by UNICEF has indicated that about 1.7 million Nigerian children under the age of five are severely and acutely malnourished, accounting for 10 percent of the global total of malnourished children.
Besides, the UNCEF stated that it had reached over one million children with life-saving malnutrition treatment through scale-up community-based treatment of acutely malnourished children.
The United Nations body made this known at a press conference yesterday in Abuja on Child Nutrition by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF to present new data on child nutrition and the effectiveness of community-based management of acute malnutrition.
In a joint statement, UNUICEF announced that it had saved 200,000 lives in the past six months and reached more than a million Nigerian children with a highly successful and cost-effective treatment for acutely malnourished children.
The new data also revealed that at least 1000 Nigerian children die of malnutrition-related diseases every day, with a total of 361,000 yearly.
UNICEF chief of nutritionist, Arjan de Wagt told newsmen that the rate of malnutrition in Nigeria was still with Nigeria accounting for 10 percent of about 17.3 million children with severe acute malnutrition around the world, adding that acute malnutrition also leads to stunting of children, causing life-long physical limitations and could reduce intellectual capacity.
According to Wagt, two out of every three children with severe acute malnutrition live in northern Nigeria
UNICEF said that it had carried out community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) programme piloted in Gombe and Kebbi States, and had further been introduced in 11 northern states where malnutrition poses the greatest threat.
The permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mr. Linus Awute who was represented by the director of Health Services, Dr. Balama Wapada, said, “We cannot accept that Nigerian children continue to die of malnutrition and that our potential future leaders should be diminished by its effects.”
UNICEF country representative, Jean Gough said, “We must scale up CMAM in Nigeria. It is a proven high impact intervention that is saving and helping Nigerian children reach their full potential through a good start in life.
“We need greater investment in Nigeria’s future by investment in good nutrition.”
UNICEF further said that more than 830,000 children had been cured in the programme with the cure rates rising steadily at 85 percent.

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