Kuni Tyessi, Abuja

The Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) in its most recent report on childhood malnutrition has pegged Nigeria’s stunting rate at 43.6 per cent, ‎wasting at 10.8 per cent and underweight at 31.5 per cent.

Also, the National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, the latest health survey after every five years, states that more than five million new-borns lack essential nutrients and anti-bodies that would protect them from diseases and death, as they are not being exclusively breastfed.

Secretary-General of Civil Society Scaling-up ‎Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Mr. Yinka Lawal, disclosed this at a project inception media round-table on the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS).

He said the latest National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS)‎ puts exclusive breast feeding rate at 25 per cent, adding that these negative results indicate an alarming rising trend in Nigeria’s malnutrition burden, which continues to further impede the nation’s economic development if not checked.

Lawal who was represented by the organisation’s executive secretary, Beatrice Eluaka, said other nutrition challenges which continue to occur unabated, include ineffective coordination to nutrition activities, inadequate fund allocations and releases for planned implementation, lack of visibility of nutrition issues, as well as low uptake of preventive measures for combating nutrition.

He said these challenges and several others should be a wake-up call for government at all levels and relevant stakeholders to scale up and smoothen operations in the provision of nutrition- related and health interventions across the country.

He said: “Also, the MICS puts stunting rate at 43.6 per cent as against 32.9 per cent in 2015, wasting in 2017 at 10.8 per cent as against 7.2 per cent in 2015 and underweight at 31.5 per cent as against 19.4 per cent in 2015.

“Malnutrition remains a key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, poor cognitive development, increased severity of diseases which adversely affects productivity in Nigeria.”