United Nations Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) has revealed that malnutrition
accounts for Over 50% of under five mortality of children
and women in Nigeria especially the
Northern part of the country.
Presenting a paper titled “Nutrition Situation in Northern
Nigeria with Emphasis on Kaduna State” at a one-day interactive meeting
with Media Chief Executives on
Nutrition co-hosted by Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC) and UNICEF,
Dr. Florence Oni, a UNICEF Nutrition
Specialist who was represented by Susan Adeyemi, said the
North-west has 53% malnutrition prevalence according to 2014 Multiple
Indicator Cluster Surrey (MICS).
She further disclosed that millions of children die from
preventable causes and that every minute eight children under five years die and two out of the eight are newborn.
She explained that malnutrition leads to stunting in child’s
growth and that a stunted child has
stunted mental capacity and such
child will operate at sub-optimal level-
less Intelligence Quotient (IQ).
“A severely wasted child is ten times more likely to die than a well nourished child. Requires a
drastic intervention and contribute to the
high mortality rates.
“A child from the poorest economic quintile is four times
more likely to be malnourished compared to the children of the richest
So there is need for multi-sectoral approach to address
malnutrition with equity.
“Poor maternal and infant feeding practices leading to
energy and protein deficiencies.
Vitamin A deficiency
(VAD), Iron Deficiency Anemia (IDA), Iodine Deficiency Disorder
(IDD) and Zinc Deficiency” are some of the nutritional problems.
According to her presentation.
She however, advocated for
optimal breastfeeding as part of solution to malnutrition, noting “optimal
breastfeeding could save about 800,000 under five child lives
every year and broad coverage of
breastfeeding and appropriate
complementary feeding could prevent
about 220,000 deaths among children under-five of age.
“Reduction of malnutrition could
decrease child mortality in Nigeria
by 50% and the burden of pediatric disease by 20%.
Reducing malnutrition has more impact than any other intervention, we need to focus on high-impact actions.”
“Community management of
acute and integrated nutrition specific and
nutrition sensitive interventions.
Agriculture and food security, social safety nets, early child
“Maternal mental health, women
empowerment including income
generating activities, child protection, classroom education,
water and sanitation, health and family
planning” are some of her recommendations for a way forward.