MINISTER of Health, Professor Issac Adewole has said that government is set to give treatment to 200,000 children in the country suffering from several acute malnutrition in the region under the new Better Health for All programmes. Adewole made this known yesterday in Abuja at the launch of the Better Health for All, BH4A, Rapid Results Initiative, RRI. He said, “The Rapid Results Initiative, RRI, project, which includes other health interventions for Nigerians, will focus on treating 200,000 Severely Acute Malnourished, SAM, children who are under five in North-Eastern region of the country, concentrating in Borno and Yobe States – the two most affected states. “We shall implement the therapeutic feeding programme as articulated in the National Strategic Plan Action for Nutrition for the under-five children with SAM,” he said. The minister, who emphasised that malnutrition among children is a serious problem throughout the country, saying “each year about one million Nigerian children die before their fifth birthday. Malnutrition contributes to nearly half of these deaths. “About two in five Nigerian children are stunted with rates of stunting varying throughout the country. Almost 30 percent of Nigerian children are underweight, meaning they don’t weigh enough for their age.” The ultimate goal of this RRI project on nutrition is to promote and ensure
implementation of Infant and Young Child Feeding, IYCF, services in all facilities using locally produced Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods, RUTF, Adewole explained. The minister further explained that the RRI under government’s Better Health for All is a programme, which is to be implemented within the next 100 days, is to meet the critical needs of the people and to deliver government’s mandate of promoting access, affordability and demand for health by the people. The RRI, the minister further disclosed, is a joint programme designed and promoted with the Rapid Results Institute by the American government, and that it is adapted for quick impact in the health sector. The minister said that the RRI project within the next 100 days would concentrate on projects such as revamping 110 primary health centres in each of the senatorial districts, including a facility in Fuka Local Government Area in Niger State. Other projects include mutual health insurance for achievement of universal health coverage for improved access to affordable and qualitative healthcare, treatment of 200,000 severely malnourished children, free 10,000 surgical interventions, including Vesico Vagina Fistula, VVF, for indigent citizens in 46 tertiary institutions, operational disease control centres in each geographical region of the country, and the Federal Capital Territory; 22,000 free cervical, breast and prostate cancer, 500,000 diabetes mellitus, hypertension screening programme for i Nigerians.

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