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UNICEF Raises Alarm Over Increasing Malnutrition In Nigeria, Killing 1,000 Children Daily

Malnurished children
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has expressed concern over the increasing malnutrition that is now rendering no fewer than 1,000 children dying every day.
UNICEF expressed this concern at a two-day media dialogue on child malnutrition with the theme: “Spend more money on nutrition”-#StopChildMalnutritionNigeria, which kicked off yesterday in Kano.
The dialogue  is being  facilitated by the UNICEF’s Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku and is being attended by representatives of the traditional and online media.
The UNICEF lamented that malnutrition is becoming widespread in Nigeria even as the UNICEF Chief of Communication, Doune Porter, stressed the need for media partnership so as to attract the necessary intervention to stop child malnutrition in the country.
Doune Porter, said that a new figure on child malnutrition will be released by UNICEF soon, adding that healthy and well-nourished children are needed for the future of Nigeria. He called on the media to sustain the partnership.
In his presentation on “An overview of malnutrition in Nigeria and its impact on children, UNICEF’s Chief Nutritionist, Mr. Arjan De Gwat, spoke extensively on the nutrition values of foods which he classified as macronutrients and micronutrients.
According to him, 55 percent of child deaths are attributed to malnutrition, adding that malnutrition of the mother could result in disability of the child or miscarriage.
Mr. Arjan said that malnutrition could also lead to reduction in mental capacity and ultimately poor education of the child, advising mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.
“Exclusive breastfeeding has the potential to save more children’s lives than any other preventive intervention.”
The Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Mr. Chido Onuma, made a presentation on media advocacy required to keep the issue of child malnutrition on the front burner and how the media can support advocacy for increased resources for nutrition programming.
Mr. Onuma charged the media to sensitize governments at all levels to increase resources to enhance child nutrition. He also charged them to do more of features, special reports and editorials to sustain focus on child malnutrition in the country.
Dr. Chris Osa Isokpunwu of the Federal Ministry of Health, also made a presentation on Nutrition Situation in Nigeria. The dialogue ends today. [myad]

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