Acute Malnutrition Hits 200,000 Children in Katsina

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Francis Sardauna in Katsina

Katsina State Nutrition Officer, Abdulhadi Abdulkadir, thursday said no fewer than 200,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition in the state.

Abdulkadir, who was speaking in Katsina during a stakeholders’ meeting on nutrition organised through the foundation of First Lady, Aisha Buhari, called Future Assured, added that over one million children under five years in the state are stunted.

He said: “Over one million children under five in Katsina State are not growing well, that is they are stunted. Stunting is one of the chronic forms of malnutrition that cannot be corrected.

“Over 200,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition. High maternal mortality rate as a result of iron deficiency anemia are contributing to 20 per cent maternal mortality.”

He reiterated that acute malnutrition is also bedeviling over 12 per cent of women across the state, saying “our mothers and children are suffering from malnutrition.”

He, however, said the state government had established Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres in 14 local government areas of the state.

He said CMAM programme, which started in October 2010 with few local governments, has now covered 70 of Out Patient Therapeutic Programme (OPTP) in 14 local government areas of the state. He explained that a total of 33,769 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) were enrolled in the CMAN programme between January to October 2019.

According to him, “The programme only covers 14 local government areas out of the 34 local government areas of the state and 361 wards that we have in Katsina State, which is not enough considering the number of children that are suffering from malnutrition and the number of children dying as a result of malnutrition.”

He said the state government was supporting SAM in 14 local government areas with N250,000 monthly to provide the Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in order to end malnutrition among children in the state.

In her remarks, the Wife of Katsina State Governor, Dr. Hadiza Bello Masari, said the state government had expended N290 million in 2017 and 2018 to tackle malnutrition.

She added that government had also inaugurated a taskforce on nutrition in three local government areas of Rimi, Kafur and Kankia.