Children facing Malnutrition
Children facing Malnutrition

New Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey, MICS, report released by the United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF, has shown that despite concerted efforts by the federal government and global partners, Nigeria still has the highest number of malnourished children globally.
The new MICS 5 Survey carried out in 2016/2017 by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in collaboration with partners revealed that child nutrition in Nigeria is worsening, as the prevalence of malnourished under-five children still hangs on.
UNICEF Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, Maureen Zubie-Okolo, who presented the MICS 5 Survey at a two-day media dialogue on Data Reporting in Enugu, said that the survey carried out in Nigeria between 2016 and 17 revealed that malnutrition among the children less than five years has worsened generally.
Explaining the data, she said underweight prevalence, that is, children who are too thin for their ages, increased from 24.2 percent to 31.5 percent; stunting prevalence, children who are short for their ages, increased from 34.8 percent to 43.6 percent.
The MICS revealed wasting prevalence, children who are too thin for their height, increased marginally from 10.2 percent to 10.8 percent.
Zubie- Okolo said that the findings of the survey were used for planning, monitoring and decision making on projects, programmes and policies to address issues on welfare and conditions of children and women in Nigeria, adding that it showed that Nigeria made significant improvements in some areas while some others remain unchanged or worsened between the year 2011, when the last survey was conducted and 2016.
According to her, Nigeria has done badly in child nutrition with the percentage of underweight, stunted and wasted children.
The survey showed that in Nigeria 31.5 percent children are underweight, 43.6 percent and 10.5 percent wasted.
While breaking down the survey to journalists, she said; ‘’ it shows that in urban areas, 23.0 percent of under-five children are underweight, 30.6 percent are stunted and 10.5 percent are wasted.
Meanwhile, assistant director, Child Right Information Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mr. Olumide Osanyinpeju commended the efforts of the federal government and UNICEF in data generation and said that data is at the heart of evidence generation, adding that data collection and dissemination were essential elements to both policy making and evaluation function.
Osanyinpeju said: “Both Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey, MICS and Demographic and Health Survey, DHS are survey initiatives designed to assist countries, Nigeria inclusive, in filling data gaps for monitoring human development in general and the situation of children and women in particular.
“Collecting quality data is necessary, but not sufficient. Data must also be disseminated in a user- friendly way to ensure that they are understood and used. Data also informs policy decisions and enhance advocacy and public awareness on priority development issues.”
He advised journalists to understand and interpret the data at their disposal to generate stories.

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