By Umar Yusuf
Yola—United Nations International Children’s Emergency, UNICEF, has said no fewer than 34,512 children in Adamawa State are suffering from acute malnourishment, noting that it has spent N38 million on “Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food, RUTF, and Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition, CMAM, between 2011 and 2015.
Dr. Abdulahi Kaikai, Chief Field Officer, UNICEF, Bauchi Field Office, at a briefing in Yola, yesterday said the money had helped about 682,823 children to receive Vitamin A supplement.
According to him, survey indicated that 34,512 children in Adamawa State were severely malnourished, noting that ”UNICEF considered it a high prevalence and if these children were left untreated, their mortality rate would increase by nine fold compared to well-nourished children.
Kaikai said: “There are inadequate trained healthcare workers, especially women, unfortunately those trained are frequently transferred to other health facilities and we call on Adamawa State Government to, as a matter of necessity take over the ownership and commence the procurement of RUTF.
”UNICEF will continue to partner in providing nutrition services for communities in the state to respond to the identified needs.”
Speaking, Governor Muhammadu Jibrilla Bindow represented by Commissioner of Health, Dr Fatima Abubakar Atiku lamented that only 18 percent of children under six months were exclusively breastfed while children from 0 – 6 months not well breastfed had seven times risk of dying from pneumonia and diarrhoea respectively.
According to the Governor, to reduce mortality rate due to malnutrition, the government was partnering UNICEF to improve access to quality child care and maternal services to save and increase the life expectancy.
Earlier, Adamawa State was described as having the highest number of infant’s mortality rate in the North East, in view of the ravaging insecurity as well as in the country.
Bauchi Zonal Nutrition Officer of UNICEF, Mrs. Philomina Irene, disclosed this during a media workshop on nutrition intervention in Adamawa State.
Mrs Irene lamented that more than 34,000 children were suffering from acute malnutrition in Adamawa State alone, hence the need for partnering with the state government to checkmate the problem.
According to her, research had shown that no fewer than 82 percent of Adamawa mothers were not practicing exclusive bread feeding, regretting that the nonchalant attitude of mothers especially those in the rural areas had increased the malnutrition cases in the state.