International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) says 2.5 million children under five years suffer from Acute Malnutrition (SAM) yearly in Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer of ISMPH, Mrs Moji Makanjuola, said this on Thursday in Bauchi during a one-day meeting with journalists and civil society organisations organised ISMPH.
Makanjuola said that UNICEF statistics indicates that 420,000 children out of the figure died yearly from malnutrition in the country.
She described the situation as “an extremely dangerous condition that makes children nine times most likely to die from common childhood illness”.
Makanjuola named diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria as some of the childhood illness that had taken the lives of such innocent children.
She noted that SAM was widespread in the northern part of the country, though all states of the country were affected.
Makanjuola regretted that over N21,350 was needed to cure a child suffering from SAM, but regretted that the “political will of government is not there’’.
She said that there was need to increase investment in child health and nutrition as health is recognised as a fundamental human right.
“Right to healthy living is still a far cry for the Nigerian citizens, because the nexus with right to life was still not practicable.
“I urge journalists and CSOs to, through their reportage and advocacy, prevail on governments and philanthropists to assist.
A Nutritionist with Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Teaching Hospital (ATBUTH), Bauchi, Dr Faruq Bashir, said that all cases of malnutrition that reaches hospitals were tip of the iceberg.
Bashir observed that many of such cases especially in the rural areas and hinterlands were not reported or taken to hospitals or nutritional centres.
“A malnourished girl if not treated early will give birth to malnourished child and the cycle will continue if not abetted as it is replicated in subsequent births.
“The cycle except corrected along the chain through artificial nutrients especially within the first two years of child-birth will damage the brain of the newborn.
“We have kitchen within the hospital to teach mothers who bring in their children for treatment to learn how to use local food to produce supplements,” he said. (NAN)