The Federal government and UNICEF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
The partnership is to serve as counterpart contribution for the procurement and distribution of the commodity in the six Geo- Political Zones of the Country.
It is estimated that there is presently about 2.5 million children under the age of five with Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM, in Nigeria currently. If nothing is done, about 20 per cent of these children would die and about 90 percent of cases are in Northern Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja recently, Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, said the Federal Government through Ministry of Health has initiated the Community based Management of Severe Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) in Gombe and Kebbi States as pilot scheme.
Adewole noted that the programme has reached Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Jigawa, Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara and would cover the six geo political zones in Nigeria.
More than one million cases had been treated with over 850,000 cured.
He informed that RUTF is an energy dense, micronutrient enhanced paste, used in therapeutic feeding and that typical primary ingredients for RUTF include: Peanuts, oil, sugar, milk powder, vitamin and mineral supplements which provide all the nutrients required for recovery.
He said government was committed in its effort to scale up the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) across the country.
Consequently, the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH) provided in the 2017 capital appropriation the sum of N1.2 billion as contribution /co-funding for UNICEF for the procurement of (RUTF). N600 million has been released so far.
The UNICEF Country Rep, Dr. Mohammed Fall, said SAM services have been mainstreamed into 5 percent (1,200) of health facilitiesy and to 15 percent of health facilities in the 12 northern States most affected.
Fall said Nigeria has the potential to do more by increasing its investments in nutrition and help to secure the health and well-being of mothers and children.