By Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
The European Union (EU) has said that it is allocating additional €300,000 (N102 million) in humanitarian aid to provide life-saving treatment to undernourished children in Sokoto and Zamfara States.
The EU said as many as 280,000 children under the age of five in Sokoto and Zamfara States are estimated to be suffering from severe malnutrition, which is a life-threatening condition.
In a statement issued on Tuesday by its Press Officer, Modestus Chukwulaka, EU said that the funds would allow the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide undernourished children and their mothers with immediate nutrition treatment.
According to him, “The European Union is allocating an additional €300,000 (N102m) in humanitarian aid to provide life-saving treatment to undernourished children in Nigeria’s northwestern states of Sokoto and Zamfara, where violence and forced displacement are leading to a further deterioration of the situation.”
The EU noted that its mobile health teams would be sent out to strengthen the capacity of health facilities in delivering comprehensive basic health care services, including supportive medical supervision.
The EU stated that it was stepping up its humanitarian assistance in Nigeria to help in addressing without delay the child undernutrition emergency that the North-west region is facing.
The EU noted that the funding would contribute to deliver the much-needed treatment for children and improve access to basic health care, stressing that timely help from the international community was essential to save children’s lives.
It said that children are particularly vulnerable, given the low vaccination rates against common childhood illnesses, adding that both states regularly face cholera, yellow fever and meningitis outbreaks, while malaria is endemic and measles is recurrent.
The EU explained that the North-west Nigeria had seen an increase in violence over the last months that has exacerbated the already existing dire nutrition situation, adding that recurrent clashes have driven people to flee their homes in search of safety.