Adedayo Akinwale and Yesin Victoria in Abuja
Worried by the fact that 420,000 Nigeria children die annually from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) said that it is targeting nine states in the north including Kano, Kastina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Bauchi, Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi to make intervention.
The Executive Director of ISMPH, Ms. Moji Makanjuola disclosed this Tuesday in Abuja at a media parley with editors and chief executives of media houses on prevention and management of severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.
She said that that ISMPH has entered into partnership with organisation working on the advocacy for the prevention and management of Severe A cure Malnutrition (SAM) in Nigeria.
Makanjuola said, “The goal of this partnership is to ensure that the prevention and management of SAM is mainstreamed and funded via government of Nigeria health systems and ensure that lives of the 420,000 Nigeria children dying from SAM every year are preserved
“Nine states in the north including Kano, Kastina, Jigawa, Kaduna, Bauchi,
Gombe, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi have been targeted for this intervention.”
Makanjuola noted that while acute malnutrition is widespread in Northern Nigeria, there are malnourished children in every state in Nigeria, stressing preventing and treating of acute malnutrition requires deliberate efforts by health and political decision makers.
She said that UNICEF estimated that N2.5 million Nigeria children below 5years suffer from SAM every year with about 420,000 of them dying every year, noting that it means 1,150 Nigerian children die everyday from SAM.
Makanjuola said electioneering period offers a great opportunity for the media to demand accountability from the current policy makers and political aspirants
She said that the media should be able to make those seeking political offices make concrete commitments towards increasing investment on child health to cover child nutrition.
On his part, the Director General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and the Chairman of the occasion, Yakubu Ibn Muhammed said that globally, there is an increasing awareness on the need to improve citizens’ access to health.
Muhammed who was represents by Aliyu Baba Barau said that even though health-right is globally considered a fundamental human right, attaining the “right to healthy living” is still a far cry to many Nigerians.
According to him, “The increased frequencies of natural and man-made incidences in Nigeria have also contributed to the plight of families and increased the number of children exposed to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the country.”
Muhammed said that the prevention and treatment of cases of SAM requires deliberate efforts, saying it was therefore the responsibility of health and political decision-makers to prioritize and mainstream child nutrition by providing adequate funding through appropriate budgetary allocations.
He emphasised that the media must rise up to the occasion to hold political leaders accountable to deliver on their promises to protect lives and cater for the welfare of all Nigerians.
“Failure to act decisively can only mean one thing: many more Nigerian children will die of malnutrition.”