UNICEF: 245,300 Children Suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition in Katsina

Francis Sardauna in Katsina 

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said 245,300 children aged under five are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across the 34 local government areas of Katsina State.

The Chief of UNICEF, Kano Office, Mr. Rahama Mohammed Farah, who disclosed this during the launch of a Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) report in Katsina Monday, said the malnourished children need urgent treatment from the government.

He called on the state government and policymakers to allocate and release adequate resources for the treatment of malnutrition to improve the current human development situation in the state.

While advocating enough commitment to improving the wellbeing of children and women who suffer the most from the scourge, Farah said all hands must be on desk in order to stem malnutrition bedevilling children in the state. 

He said: “Based on the preliminary findings from a recently completed SMART survey across the 34 LGAs of Katsina State, an estimated 245,300 children aged under 5 are suffering from SAM; and need immediate treatment.

“In terms of learning achievement in schools: the MICS 2021 measures the level of foundational numeracy and literacy skills of children between the ages of 7 to 12.

“MICS data shows that the learning achievement situation in Katsina State is still far below the national average. For example, in Katsina State, only 9 per cent of the children assessed, have demonstrated foundational reading skills compared to 26 per cent at the national level.”

Farah reiterated that state governments within the region need to intervene in the areas of tackling poverty and improve the basic social services in health, education, nutrition, social protection, water and sanitation, as well as child rights.

He added that governments in the region must also carefully review the MICS data, analyse the underlying and contributing root causes of the poor human development indicators and implement better focused and effective strategies to address them.

Earlier, the state Commissioner for Health, Yakubu Nuhu Danja, represented by the Director Primary Healthcare, Nafisa Sani, said the lack of adequate SAM treatment centres in the state was the bane of malnutrition afflicting children in the state.

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