Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The nutrition sector of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has estimated that there will be 258,950 children aged below five years suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) come 2020 in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States.
The latest nutrition survey unveiled by UNICEF also showed that the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) among boys and girls aged below five years is 11 per cent in Borno, 13 per cent in Yobe and 6 per cent in Adamawa, indicating very high levels of malnutrition, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) classification.
UNICEF stated that to ensure the provision of comprehensive treatment, N5 billion is needed to procure 258,950 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for SAM treatment.
“UNICEF is the sole pipeline agency for RUTF for the collective response. Against the projected figures, UNICEF has funds for 29,314 cartons of RUTF, leaving a funding gap of N4.4 billion for the procurement of 229,636 cartons of RUTF.
“Further Influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) also known as new arrivals may also further exacerbate the already poor nutrition situation. The affected communities coping mechanisms is still low, therefore any shock will result in further deterioration of nutrition status reinforcing the need to have robust contingency plans in place,” it said.
Meanwhile, in curbing malnutrition in all its forms, UNICEF with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) is implementing two multisectoral projects to promote positive nutrition outcomes in the North-east.
These are the Flexible Integrated and Timely (FIT) project in Borno State and Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) project in Yobe State.
The FIT project started in April 2019 and will run through March 2022 with a budget of £36 million, while the WINNN project began in April 2019 to March 2020 with a budget of £5 million. Both projects entail provision of a basic package of nutrition services.
“To date, through the FIT and WINNN projects, UNICEF has been able to treat 165,000 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition using Ready to Use Therapeutic Food, provide micro-nutrient supplementation to 135,000 children aged six to 23
months and 550,000 pregnant and lactating women were given skilled Infant and young child feeding in emergencies,” UNICEF said.