-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Mike SOGBOLO/North-East Chief of Bureau:
Sweden has donated N460 million towards fighting acute malnutrition in the North East, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said.
A statement by UNICEF on Tuesday said Sweden is partnering with it to end malnutrition in the North East.
It disclosed that it has received N460 million (SEK 10 million) contribution from the Swedish International Development to stop acute malnutrition in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states.
UNICEF noted that the funding will support the expansion of services targeted at preventing and treating severe acute malnutrition induced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The statement further added that the contribution will help protect children from other opportunistic infections that may arise from suppressed immune system.
“With 690,090 acutely malnourished children, the three north-east states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe constitute the greatest burden of the 2.7 million acutely malnourished children in Nigeria.
“Affected by armed conflict, displacement, limited access to farmland and high prices of food items, children, families and communities in the region already are among the most food insecure and malnourished in the world.”
According to UNICEF, measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the incidence of malnutrition in children in the three north east states, noting that the funding from Sweden will boost outreach programmes to become more effective.
UNICEF said: “Estimates from the Nutrition and Food Security Surveillance (NFSS) conducted in November 2020 put the acute malnutrition prevalence at 6.2 per cent in Adamawa, 10 per cent in Borno and 12.3 per cent in Yobe. NFSS estimates put severe acute malnutrition prevalence at 0.6 per cent in Adamawa, 0.9 per cent in Borno and 2.1 per cent in Yobe.”
It added that: “Through the use of community mobilisers, the SIDA funding will allow for swift identification, referral and treatment of severe acute malnutrition cases in children in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States. Frequent and increased micronutrient supplementation both at the community and referral centre levels will prevent and treat malnutrition in children, thereby providing them with a healthy start in life’.”