April 20, 2024 4:26 am





1.5 Million Children in Kano at Risk: The Battle Against Malnutrition Begins

According to the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, Nigeria has about 19.8 million children who are malnourished, giving Nigeria the highest burden of stunting in Africa and the second highest in the world.

A Nutrition Crisis: Nigeria’s Burden

About 70 percent of children under five are anaemic as child nutrition is core to human capital development in Nigeria. This presents an urgent crisis that needs to be addressed.

Child Malnutrition in Nigeria

Kano State alone in the North-West has 1.5 million children under five years of age who are stunted, representing over 10 percent of the country’s burden.

A Closer Look at Kano State’s Crisis

When Channels Television visited Ungwan Ukwu Primary Healthcare Centre in Kano, children under five years were observed receiving medical attention for acute malnutrition and other related ailments.

In the Heart of the Crisis

The faces of the children told of the scourge of malnutrition, particularly in our rural communities.

Unveiling the Reality

Arira Umar, whose three-year-old son Ahmed was severely malnourished, could not sit or stand.

One Mother’s Struggle

The situation was the same with Abdulmalik, who was 18 months but had the weight of a three-month-old child.

A Battle for Survival

His mother came all the way from Katsina State to seek treatment for him.

Seeking Help Far and Wide

The children are among several captured in a recent survey on infant and young child feeding practices in children aged 0 to 23 months.

Shining a Light on the Crisis

  1. Kano State: A Desperate Situation
  2. For Kano State, the situation is dire as only 10.1 percent of babies are exclusively breastfed; 15.7 percent of them are fed with minimum diet diversity, and a mere 10.6 percent receive food from animal sources such as meat, milk, and eggs.

Addressing the Issues in Kano State

  1. Donor Aid: A Ray of Hope
  2. Donor organizations are collaborating with the Kano Ministry of Health to bring treatment for malnourished children and have treated over 50,000 children so far, but the challenge is enormous. Ready-to-use therapeutic food (RTF) is often deployed at the center but was insufficient to meet the huge demand.

Finding Solutions through Collaboration

  1. Government Commitment
  2. The challenges notwithstanding, the Kano State Nutrition Coordinator said the government was willing to tackle malnutrition. Education of mothers would be key, the Matron of the Angwan-Ukwu Health Centre, Hasiya Yerima, said that mothers who visit the facility are sensitized on good nutrition from proper breastfeeding.

Hope for a Better Future

For those who make it to health facilities like this, there is hope still. Recovering Farida, who was breastfeeding her late sister’s child, and Amina, who is a mother of twins, could smile as their children had become playful once again.

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