Malnutrition is the unspeakable tragedy amongst children
around the world especially in Africa and other developing
Apart from creating
conditions of stunted growth in children, especially those under the ages of five, it is the lethal
on economies of nations, as it cripples, kills and claiming
millions of lives.
Imagining a mother holding or carrying a
malnourished child because the world has not cared to banish hunger particularly among the weak and vulnerable, therefore,
women and children, in spite of the growing wealth being generated everyday worldwide.
It is against this backdrop that the last reportreleased by the
United Nations Children’s Fund
(UNICEF) showing that about 1.7
million Nigerian children are severely malnourished and in
dire need of urgent intervention must be taken seriously.
The UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough who broke the news said: “There are
approximately 1.7 million acutely malnourished children under five in Nigeria accounting
for a tenth of the global figure.
Nearly a thousand Nigerian children die of malnutrition
related causes every day a total of 361,000 each year.” Also the report stated that, 53% of child mortalities in Nigeria were traceable to
malnutrition. Sadly, however, even though malnutrition is the major cause for a third of child
mortality in the world, yet it has
not received sufficient attention
and publicity as to attract global
investment that are crucial in tackling the growing upsurge in
We recall that as far
back as 2008, the report of the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) had indicated that
one out of every three children under the age of five in our
country is stunted and suffering from chronic malnutrition. Thus, this latest statistics ranking the
country as one of the countries with the highest number of
malnourished children in the world came as no surprise to all and sundry.
Sometimes ago, the
nutrition society of Nigeria NSN, rolled out a damning figure,
making the country one of the worst in the world. And the
country is being placed within the global context, the
malnourished children are said to be more and causing the deaths of millions of children, meaning it is one of the major
killer disease of children.
What this portend therefore is that if
these worrisome indexes are not checked, an additional 2.4million and above Nigerian
children will be malnourished by
the year 2020 The more malnourished children we have,
the less hopeful our future would be, and given the measure of resources the country is blessed with, makes the situation even more depressing and unacceptable, the nation can do better to redress the growing anomalies.
Therefore, it will be pleasant if we could rid Nigeria and the
world of the dreaded
malnutrition plague so as to give hope to the vulnerable millions especially children the chance to leave fulfilled lives.
But conquering malnutrition would be a hard task with the current level of poverty and hunger around the world,
especially in Africa. The poor cannot afford a balanced diet or any diet at all that will keep the body and soul in harmony.
The first task therefore is to fight
poverty and hunger as well as improving the incomes of
individuals and families. Aside
this, government at all levels and other advocacy groupings
should as a matter of urgency embark on an aggressive
enlightenment programmes on how to get and sustain a
But above all, in the onerous fight against
malnutrition, there must be a national food policy in which
nutrition particularly has special budgetary allocations as
suggested by the NSN. Though, good nutrition or healthy diet are not cheap, but the cost to cater for citizens who are
malnourished is higher, especially the huge losses in
Therefore it is far
cheaper to prevent malnutrition than treating it. Our world is so rich to end hunger and malnutrition, collectively and
collaboratively, the battle can be won.