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N16bn DFID intervention saves 13,444 children ravaged by malnutrition in Borno

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By Luminous Jannamike

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said over 13,444 children under the age of five have been treated for severe acute malnutrition in nine LGAs of Borno state in 2019.

Department For International Development
UNICEF’s nutrition specialist, Aminu Usman, who made this known at a media dialogue on a timely response to nutrition-related humanitarian needs, said the figure represents 89 percent of 15,102 malnourished children targeted for treatment in the state.
According to him, the treatment program was executed under the Flexible Integrated and Timely (FIT) project 2019, funded by UK’s Department for International Department, DFID, to the tune of N16bn (£36m).
Usman also said that out of 27,940 children below the age of two targeted for supplemental feeding in the state, 18,173 representing 65 percent of the number received micronutrient powder to ameliorate their poor feeding situation. He, however, warned: “The influx of internally displaced persons (new arrivals) may reverse the gains made to address the already poor nutrition situation in Borno.
“The affected community coping mechanism is still low, and any shock will result in further deterioration of nutrition status and so, it is important to have a robust contingency plan,” Usman noted that UNICEF provided 100 percent nutrition response needs for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) in the state. Meanwhile, Mrs. Libabatu Musa, mother of a 16 month-old son, told Vanguard that her son has been on RUTF for five months.
According to Libabatu, prior to receiving the therapeutic foods, she sought the help of traditional healers in improving her son’s condition but to no avail. Speaking in Hausa language, she said: “When my son was 11 months old in our native Shuaruwan community, he began to lose weight rapidly. We thought he was suffering from dehydration as a result of diarrhea.
“We took him to traditional healers, then to the General Hospital in Borno, but there was no improvement in his condition. He was emaciated, without healthy appetite and always crying.  “We were later referred to Mala Kachalla treatment center in Maiduguri, Borno where he was placed on RUTF. He has not only regained his weight but he now eats whatever he is given.”

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