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Malnutrition: Nasarawa Govt trains 120 women



The Nasarawa State Government has trained more than 120 women on quality feeding management to curb malnutrition in the state.
Mr Naphtali Dachor, the Permanent Secretary, state Ministry of Agriculture, made this known Friday at a one-day training in Lafia.
Dachor said the essence of the training was designed to teach the women how to use local produce to prepare complementary nutritious foods
The permanent secretary noted that good nutrition is key to the growth and development of every child; hence care givers needed to be encouraged to give adequate diets to their children and wards.
“This training you are receiving today will go a long way to impact a larger society, as not everybody has opportunity of being here today.
“So whatever you learn today let it go down and have impact on other people so that they can learn from you,’’ he advised.
Dachor said the mMinistry was committed toward ensuring adequate food production for nutritional improvement in the state.
Hajiya Maimuna Muhammad, the Director, Department of Home Economy in the ministry, said that the training was informed by the high rate of malnutrition in the state and the country in general.
“The reason we organise this programme is to reduce malnutrition in the state; most of these women seated here grow these cereals, that is why we are teaching them how to use them to address malnutrition,’’ she said.
Muhammad charged the participants drawn from three local governments of Akwanga, Lafia and Doma to take the training seriously, adding that it will help them make meaningful contributions toward addressing malnutrition in the state.
Edited by Yakubu Uba/Muhammad Suleiman Tola


Malnutrition :Ebonyi saves 800 children from malnutrition



The Ebonyi government through its Ministry of Health says it is currently treating over 800 children from acute malnutrition in the state.

The Nutrition Officer in the ministry, Mr Cyprain Ogbonna said on Friday while interacting with newsmen on the development in Abakaliki.

Ogbonna revealed that the figure were children selected across various communities and those who before the intervention battled with the scourge.

He said that a trained team at Maternal and Child Health (MCH), Onueke Health Center in Ezza South Local Government Area of the state, reviewed a case of a 59-months-old- boy, Master Kelechi Ede facing malnutrition in the state.

“In a document issued, it was gathered that Ede was one among the children facing severe malnutrtion but had bounced back to life.

“This followed effort of the officers working at MCH in Onueke who treated him with a supplement known as Therapeutic foods.

“It was established that before March 23, 2020, the life threatening form of undernutrition had made the child so skinny, stunted and  could only weight nine kilogramme.

“Before the dramatic change, the health officers were reviewing the patient on weekly basis and placed him on steady food clinically approved for treatment of such problem.

“Ede represents over 800 children whose lives had been saved while there are still numerous number in a similar condition in the state,” Ogbonna said.

Meanwhile, a report from National Nutrition Health Survey (NNHS) in 2018 made available to newsmen, stated that, if nothing is done, no fewer than 20,000 children between the ages of six and 59 months are liable to die annually of malnutrition in the state.

The Nutritionist, while reacting to the report, disclosed that the impending nutrition challenge prompted the action of the Federal Ministry of Health in collaboration with United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) to establish treatment across three zones of the state.

“It is based on this report that Federal government establishment a program  known as Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) so that the danger could be averted,” he said.

According to him, the MCH centers in the three zones of Azuiyiokwu, Onueke and Amaechara in Afikpo respectively were currently treating over 800 malnourished children with therapeutic food.

Ogbonna noted that the trained health workers were in steady harvest of more children from the communities.

He described malnutrition as lack of adequate nourishment that made  either adult and children to present skinny and stunted nature.

He attributed one of the causes of malnutrition to parents’ inability to breastfeed their children appropriately and inappropriate complementary feeding.

The nutrition expert said that unhygienic practices and less nutrient intake were major causes of malnutrition.

“Nutrition is a technical area that one needs to be careful but it is quite unfortunate that many do not breast feed their children not knowing that the first milk known as colostrum serves as antibiotics to newborn babies and even suckling eases off placenta after delivery.

He further called for assistance and partnership to enable the nutrition sector, achieve its desired result by boosting both preventive and curative measures.

The Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Dr Christian Achi, who confirmed the prevalence cases of malnourished  children, attributed it to cumulated effect of marginalization of the state, before its creation in 1996.

He added that the harvested malnourished children were placed on the food supplements in the clinics designated for such cases.

“I disagree with the prediction of NNHS claiming that 20,000 children would die annually.

“We have identified the problem and government has also embarked on the measures to remedy the situation,” Achi said.

He advised that mothers should always adhere to the directive on exclusive breastfeeding so that the problem could be reduced.

According to him, a large number of mothers have been educated in the health facilities on adequate food preparation and combination that would give the desired nutrients needed for the good health of every child.

He further called on stakeholders to partner with the state government on the fight against malnutrition to trace and assist other affected children within their domain.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Maureen Atuonwu (NAN)

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Farmer urges measures against post COVID-19 food crisis, malnutrition in Africa



Mr Daniel Okafor, the National President, Potato Farmers Association of Nigeria (POFAN), has advised African countries, especially Nigeria, to map out strategies to mitigate the impending post COVID-19 food crisis and malnutrition.
Okafor gave the advice in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, stating that there would be massive job losses and other economic challenges in the aftermath of the pandemic.
He urged various heads of government in the continent to take proactive measures to forestall the imminent crisis in the agricultural sector.
He recommended strategic meetings between governments and agricultural experts that would lead to extensive research to bring about lasting solution to the crisis.
Okafor stated: “If nothing positive is done to help farmers get it right in this first year of the pandemic, Nigeria is going to experience food shortage, malnutrition and lack of revenue generation.
“Also, there will be job losses and health issues, among other challenges.
So, Nigerian farmers require assistance, including adequate agricultural inputs, to produce enough food for the nation.
Okafor, who is also the National Vice President of All Farmers Association of Nigeria (AFAN), expressed concern that Nigeria’s GDP growth was retrogressing because of the fall in the international oil price.
“So, to attain food security, there must be inclusive agricultural policies and timely budget implementation, among other measures,” he said.
He opined that the effect of the pandemic was already being felt in the global economy, hence the need for all hands to be on deck to ameliorate the situation.
Okafor commended Federal Government’s efforts in combating the pandemic and called for greater efforts to save the economy from the post COVID-19 challenges.

Edited By: Sam Oditah/Ejike Obeta (NAN)





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WHO says COVID-19 to escalate hunger, malnutrition in Africa




The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to undermine the ability of many African countries to feed their citizens amid disruptions on agricultural activities.

Matshidiso Moeti, WHO regional director for Africa said Thursday that the viral respiratory disease could hamper efforts to address the endemic hunger and malnutrition crisis in the continent.

COVID-19 is unfolding in Africa against a backdrop of worrying levels of hunger and undernourishment, which could worsen as the virus threatens livelihoods and household economies,” Moeti in a statement issued in Nairobi.

“Hunger and malnutrition heighten vulnerability to diseases, the consequences of which could be far-reaching if not properly addressed,” she added.

WHO statistics indicate that one in five people in Africa is undernourished while 30 percent of children under five years in the continent have stunted growth.

The UN health agency acknowledged there is limited research on malnutrition and COVID-19 fatalities but stressed that individuals with weak immune system due to severe undernourishment are likely to be severely affected by the virus.

Nearly 73 million people are currently food insecure in Sub-Saharan Africa as desert locust invasion combined with climatic shocks devastate key staples like maize.

According to WHO, COVID-19 has escalated food shortages in Africa as containment measures like lockdowns, curfews and physical distancing hamper storage, processing and transportation of food.

It said that low-income households have borne the brunt of restricted movements amid loss of income and inability to access open-air markets where they often source for local staples.

WHO hailed a recent decision by several African countries to mitigate the disruption of food supply chains even as they intensify the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moeti said that WHO has developed guidelines to enable African countries to promote health and nutrition of citizens through consumption of whole grains, cereals, lentils, peas and beans as they mull easing of anti-COVID-19 containment measures.

“As countries begin to relax their lockdowns, essential health services must be in place to meet challenges posed by malnutrition,” said Moeti, adding that African governments should provide assistance to food-insecure households and ensure medical facilities are able to give special care to COVID-19 patients that are undernourished.


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Africa’s malnutrition burden could be worsened by COVID-19, report




Sub-Saharan African countries are likely to deal with declining food and nutrition security amid disruptions to their agricultural systems triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, said a report that was launched in Nairobi on Tuesday.

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report (GNR) said that African governments, industry and external financiers should prioritize mitigation measures to avert a hunger and malnutrition crisis in a continent where the viral respiratory disease is gradually spreading.

“We have seen significant progress to tackle malnutrition in Africa, but the COVID-19 pandemic could reverse these gains,” said Jane Battersby-Lennard, associate professor at the University of Cape Town’s African Centre for Cities.

COVID-19 is expected to increase this disparity, which means that now is the time to scale up our efforts and support communities and people most affected,” she added.

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report whose theme is “Action on Equity to end Malnutrition” stated that robust policy, regulatory and funding interventions are key to boost nutrition outcomes in Africa.

According to the report, the COVID 19 pandemic has worsened the fragility of the continent’s agricultural systems hence undermining efforts to feed a population already grappling with other infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and Ebola.

It acknowledged substantial progress some African countries have made towards eradicating hunger and malnutrition thanks to investments in climate-resilient farming systems coupled with policy reforms.

The 2020 Global Nutrition Report singled out Ethiopia for reducing the prevalence of stunting among children below five years from 57.6 percent in 2000 to 38.4 percent in 2016.

It said that Burundi has managed to reduce stunting levels from 64.0 percent in 2000 to 55.9 percent in 2016, despite grappling with a volatile political environment.

The report stressed that agricultural diversification that encourages a shift from traditional staples like maize, wheat and rice to fruits, nuts and vegetables is key to boost the resilience of African communities amid the twin challenges of malnutrition and COVID-19 pandemic.


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Millions of children in Horn of Africa could face malnutrition: charity




Millions of children in the greater Horn of African region could experience severe malnutrition as desert locusts, flooding and COVID-19 pandemic worsen food insecurity, an international charity, Save the Children, said on Thursday.

The charity said in a statement issued in Nairobi that a looming second invasion by desert locusts combined with floods that have destroyed crops, and COVID-19 disruptions, might complicate efforts to feed vulnerable children in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.

“2020 will be a defining year for a generation of children across the Horn of Africa. COVID-19 comes at a time when children and their families are already dealing with multiple crises that include recurrent climatic shocks, conflict and the locust invasion,” said Yvonne Arunga, Save the Children’s Regional Operations Director for East and Southern Africa.

Nearly 5.2 million children below five years old are already severely malnourished in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia while about 1.3 million are at risk of starvation, according to humanitarian agencies.

Save the Children said the region will experience a substantial increase in emergency needs for children in the coming months.

According to the global charity, commodity prices have spiked by 2 percent in Somalia while decreased revenue from remittances and tourism across the entire Horn of African region due to COVID-19 pandemic is likely to worsen childhood malnutrition.

The charity said that government-financed desert locust control interventions across the Horn of African region that include personnel training and spraying of pesticides, have been affected by COVID-19 pandemic.

It said that a partnership between governments and humanitarian agencies is key to promoting child-centered nutrition programs like breastfeeding in the region.


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Covid-19: CS-SUNN warns of eminent malnutrition crisis in Kaduna 



The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Kaduna State Chapter, said on Friday that the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could lead to serious malnutrition crisis in the state.

The Coordinator, Mr Silas Ideva gave the warning in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Kaduna.

He noted that the current lockdown to prevent spread of the virus has made it very difficult for poor households with children under five years to have access to quality food.

He said that the state was already burdened with high rate of malnourished children among the 1.8 million estimated number of children under five years in the state.

He pointed out that malnutrition situation in the state has remained malignant with very little progress as indicated by the National Health Demographic and Health Survey 2018.

He said that according to the survey, stunting rate among children under five years improved by only 6.1 per cent in the state in five years, from 56.6 per cent in 2013 to 50.5 per cent in 2018.

The coordinator said that three out of every 10 children under the age of five in the state were malnourished, adding that the development posed a great threat to economic development in the state.

According to him, the lockdown has drastically reduced access to nutritious food, particularly in poor households, stressing that the development will further increase the number of malnourished children in the state.

“Children under five years in the state, most of which are from poor households are currently faced with hunger crisis.

“Most families depend on daily earnings to be able to eat, but the current situation had made it very difficult for them to have access to required food to feed their children under five years,” he said.

Ideva described the situation as a “huge challenge,” stressing that something must be done to prevent the situation from putting the state into a precarious malnutrition crisis.

He commended the state government for the procurement and distribution of N500 million worth of foodstuff to the vulnerable groups in the state to cushion the  effect of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“This is quite commendable and reflects commitment of the state government to the plight of the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable groups.

“However, I am appealing that priority should be given to poor households with pregnant and lactating mothers, and children under five years, who need the relief more to ensure their survival,” he said.

According to him, the measure will ensure that vulnerable women and children in poor households are nutrition secured to avert the outbreak of malnutrition crisis in the state.

He also called on the state government to put measures in place to guard against hike in prices of foodstuffs to sustain access to affordable food by poor households.

This, according to him, “will  prevent children and women from becoming malnourished throughout the lockdown period.”

He called on the residents to adhere to good hygiene practices and social distance as advised to avoid becoming infected.

He also called on non-governmental organisations and other civil society organisations to support government in keeping people safe while ensuring that children have access to nutritious food to stay alive and healthy.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and Isaac Ukpoju


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COVID-19: Response must not exacerbate hunger, malnutrition, says FAO, WHO, WTO



 The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO), have called for care to minimise potential impacts of COVID-19 containment on food supply, global trade and food security.

The three world bodies said in a statement jointly signed by their Directors-General, QU Dongyu, Tedros Ghebreyesus and Roberto Azevedo, of FAO, WHO and WTO respectively.

According to them, governments should ensure that responses to COVID-19 does not unintentionally create unwarranted shortages of essential items and exacerbate hunger and malnutrition.

They said when actions were being taken to protect the health and wellbeing of their citizens, the countries should ensure that any trade-related measure do not disrupt the food supply chain.

“Millions of people around the world depend on international trade for their food security and livelihoods.

“Such disruptions including hampering movement of agricultural and food industry workers and extending border delays for food containers, result in the spoilage of perishables and increasing food waste,” the trio said.

The directors-general noted that uncertainty about food availability could spark a wave of export restriction and create a shortage on the global market.

“Such reactions can alter the balance between food supply and demand, resulting in price spikes and increased price volatility.

“We learned from previous crises that such measures are particularly damaging for low-income, food-deficit countries and to the efforts of humanitarian organisations to procure food for those in desperate need.

“We must prevent the repeat of such damaging measures. It is at times like this that more, not less, international cooperation becomes vital,” they said.

According to them, in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown, efforts must be made to ensure that trade flows as freely as possible, especially to avoid food shortage.

2wa2″SiwaaaAamilarly, it is also critical that food producers and food workers at processing and retail levels are protected to minimise the spread of the disease within this sector and maintain food supply chains.

“Consumers, in particular, the most vulnerable, must continue to be able to access food within their communities under strict safety requirements,” they said.

The directors-general advised countries to ensure that information on food-related trade measures, levels of food production, consumption and stocks, as well as food prices, was available to all citizens in real time.

“This reduces uncertainty and allows producers, consumers and traders to make informed decisions.

“Above all, it helps contain ‘panic buying’ and the hoarding of food and other essential items,” they said.

According to the world leaders, now is the time to show solidarity, act responsibly and adhere to common goal of enhancing food security, food safety and nutrition and improving the general welfare of people around the world.

Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye


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Enugu State Govt. establishes 3 special centres for management of acute malnutrition



The Enugu State Government has established three special centres across the state for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) to enhance the well-being of children under five years.

Dr George Ugwu, Executive Secretary of Enugu State Primary Healthcare Centre Development Agency (ENS-PHCDA), disclosed this to the Nigeria News Agency in Enugu on Wednesday.

Ugwu said that the centres were located within Primary Healthcare Centres (PHCs) in each of the three senatorial zones of the state.

According to him, the primary healthcare centres for the CMAM programme are located in Abakpa, Oji River and Obollo-Afor, the designated pilot PHCs, from where it would be stepped down to other centres in the state.

He said that trained health professionals on CMAM in the primary healthcare centres, would freely screen the malnourished children and treat them with Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

“Malnutrition is life threatening and the underlying course of 50 per cent under five children’s death in Nigeria where over 2.5 million are affected by severe acute malnutrition, and Enugu State is among the affected states.

“In view of the above, ENS-PHCDA, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, UNICEF and U-TOLF, has established special centres in three senatorial zones for free screening and treatment of acute malnutrition in children.

“These malnourished children, who are between the ages of six months and 59 months (five years), will be treated using Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).

“The CMAM services are available from March 19 at Abakpa, Oji River and Obollo Afor PHCs.

“All parents and caregivers in the 17 council areas of the state are advised to present their children for screening and treatment at any of the designated primary healthcare centres nearest to them.

“The residents of the state should join hands with the state government through the ENS-PHCDA to eliminate malnutrition amongst our children,’’ he said.

The ENS-PHCDA boss lauded Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for rejuvenating PHCs in the state and seeing that the centres provided affordable and quality healthcare for people in rural areas, with the bulk of the population.

NAN recalls that UNICEF in 2018 estimated that 138,720 (14.5 per cent) of Enugu states 956,690 children under five years were stunted, a form of malnutrition defined by short height for age.

He said: “The trend has worsened from 11.7 per cent (DHS, 2013) to the 14.5 per cent (NNHS, 2018).

“If nothing is done now, these malnourished children will certainly suffer severe, irreversible physical and cognitive damage, leading to undesirable consequences on their school achievement.”

Ugwu further said that malnutrition could result in low economic productivity in adulthood as well as poor maternal reproductive outcomes.

“Over time and at an aggregate level, this undermines human capital, economic productivity and can limit progression in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Assembly targets,” he said.

Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Ejike Obeta


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Malnutrition: CISLAC lauds Jigawa’s social protection programme



The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has commended Jigawa State Government for the implementation of social protection protection to address poverty and malnutrition in the state.

Ms Chioma Kanu, CISLAC Programme Manager on Health, stated this when the organisation paid a courtesy visit to Gov. Badaru Abubakar, on Thursday in Kaduna.

Kanu lauded the state government’s allocation of N100 million for procurement of Ready-To-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), to treat acute malnourished children.

She also commended members of the state House of Assembly for dedicating N150 million under the constituency projects, to avoid stock-out of RUTF at the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAN) facilities.

According to her, sustaining CMAM activities remains paramount in complementing existing efforts for preventive and curative measures against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the state.

Kanu said: “We are calling on the government to prioritise integration of RUTF, as part of essential medicine to ensure sustained treatment of SAM cases.

”We also want Jigawa State Government to scale up CMAM interventions in all the local government areas to ensure SAM children have access to treatment.

“CISLAC equally want the state government to ensure adequate budgetary allocation, cash-backing and timely release of nutrition fund to sustain interventions”.

She further called on the government to adopt multi-sectoral approach to financing nutrition through synergy and integrated service delivery in all relevant Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs).

She stressed the need for recruitment of additional nutritionists to provide services in primary healthcare facilities for the benefits of children at the grassroots.

”The state government should also promote integrated farming, value innovation and reorientation in traditional agricultural production to promote standardisation for healthy food consumption.

”We have been engaging legislature, the executive, civil societies, media, traditional rulers and women groups in Jigawa on issues affecting prevention and treatment of SAM,” she added.

Kanu reiterated commitment to support the state government to effectively address the challenge of malnutrition.

Also speaking, Abubakar noted that Jigawa State used to record worst nutrition indices in the country.

Abubakar, however, said the situation was gradually improving following various interventions being implemented to address the scourge.

He said that his administration was open to work with partners willing to support in improving nutrition indices of women and children.

The governor thanked CISLAC for the visit, describing the organisation as a “worthy partner” in the fight against malnutrition.

He urged the organisation to work with his technical team to arrive at a comprehensive plan, cost implication, benefits and timeline for implementation of all issues the state should address.

”I assure you that when I see the detail analyses of what needs to be done, how, when it will be done and what the benefits are, I will make funds available for implementation,” he said.

Abubakar promised to expand the scope of the widows empowerment programme to mobilise participation,to improve income generation of families and nutrition choices.

He explained that under the programme, a widow was given three goats to pay back in like-some after 18 months, adding that 14, 114 widows had so far benefited under the scheme.

The governor noted that the programme recorded significant successes with 87 per cent recovery and 92 per cent retention among beneficiaries.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Rabiu Sani Ali

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