20 Children Killed by Acute Malnutrition in Nasarawa

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Malnutrition is a leading cause of death among under-five children

Igbawase Ukumba in Lafia

No less than 20 children were reportedly killed by suspected severe acute malnutrition in Nasarawa State due to non-availability of malnutritional food supplements in government-owned hospitals across the state.

THISDAY’s findings revealed reliably that three out of five children withdrawn from the Dalhatu Arab Specialist Hospital (DASH) in Lafia have allegedly died after taking an expired food supplements supplied by the Nasarawa State Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA).

The death of the three children were confirmed in the hospital after taking the expired drugs. It’s gathered that NPHCDA has been allegedly supplying expired food supplements for the severe acute malnourished children to government-owned hospitals in the state.

In addition to the three children, 17 children were reported dead in Keffi and Akwanga General Hospitals due to severe acute malnutrition and lack of food supplements to managed them since the ones supplied by NPHCDA were expired and could not be administered on the children.

Investigation further revealed that the rate of severe malnutrition in Nasarawa State is getting higher as the various general hospitals across the state have started rejecting malnourished children, due to non-availability of the RF 95 and RF100 food supplements.

When THISDAY went round the General Hospitals in Lafia, Akwanga and Keffi, it discovered that all the malnourished children have been withdrawn and fresh cases rejected.

At the General Hospital in Keffi, one of the officers, who pleaded anonymity, said “all children diagnosed with severe wasting were supposed to be given due attention with treatment using the RF95 or RF100 food supplements and other ready to use therapeutic food, but since we don’t have, we have started rejecting malnourished children in our facility,” she said.

NPHCDA Chief Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Halima Yusuf, said she supplied the RF95 and RF100 food supplements to all the general hospitals in the state since last year, adding that they did not use them till they got expired.

She added that at the movement, the agency has not bought new food supplements and UNICEF has also not supplied because the counterpart funds have not been paid by the state.

Efforts to get comments from the Executive Chairman of the NPHDA in the state, Dr. Mohammed Addis, proved abortive as he neither picked nor responded to calls and text messages sent through his phone line on the matter as of the time filling in the
report.