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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Malnutrition: .1m Nigerian children die yearly



An estimated half a million Nigerian children die annually due to malnutrition across the country, reports ITRealms.

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) made this revelation at the ongoing two-day media dialogue in the city of Calabar, Cross River State for selected editors and health correspondents, describing malnutrition as silent health crisis.

The dialogue which centred on
“Nutrition and Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM)” attracted some senior media practitioners including members of the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP).

The workshop with the hashtag #StopChild MalnutritionNigeria, was coordinated by the UNICEF's Communication Specialist, Mr. Geoffrey Njoku in the company of the officials from the Federal Ministry of Information, child rights unit and Cross River State ministries of health. 

The Chief Nutritionist at UNICEF office in Nigeria, Mr. Arjan de Wagt said that most of the children die of malnutrition within their first 1,000 days on earth, describing the period as "window period."

He also said that the first 1000 days of a child are so important that they determined not only the child's growth but also his entire health status throughout life afterwards.

Wagt stressed that malnutrition affects not only the poor but also some wealthy ones, adding that part of the effects of the malnutrition is obesity.

"Whenever we talk about malnutrition, the only thing that comes to the mind is that it is for the poor, uneducated, and rural people who have less to eat. But malnutrition also includes eating wrong food or unbalanced diet. It is about lack of knowledge of the food we eat and not lack of food," he said.

High cause of malnutrition, he said, is lack of exclusive breast feeding of the child in the first six months of his birth, pointing out that breast milk is made strictly for the babies and they must not be denied.

Children that are not well-fed and improperly catered for, usually pave the way to stunted growth, over weight, micronutrient deficiency, hence, generally prone to life threatening diseases.

The speakers at the workshop, including. Dr. Chris Osa Isokpunwu of the Federal Ministry of Health, the Coordinator of African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Chido Onuma called on the media to be in the forefront for advocacy on behavioural change amongst Nigeria to reverse the trend.

+Remmy Nweke (ITRealms) +ITRealms DSA +UNICEF   #StopChildMalNutritionNigeria

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Arjan de Wagt - UNICEF Nigeria chief nutrition

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