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40 percent of child deaths in Nigeria occured in North West – UNICEF

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UNICEF urges private sector involvement to end open defecation in Nigeria

Bashir Bello

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday 40 percent of the burden of child deaths under the age of five are in the North West part of the country.

The Chief of Health, UNICEF Nigeria, Sanjana Bhardwaj, disclosed this at a two-day retreat organized for Health Commissioners from seven states in the North West.

She said: “We are looking at two big issues around child survivor and the whole well being of the child. We call it the Survive and Thrive component for a child. We know we have very high mortality, a high number of children die in Nigeria and we bear a large burden, the global burden rests on Nigeria. Within Nigeria when we look at the data, we find that the North West states are carrying 40 percent of the burden of child deaths.

“So one thing this meeting is talking about is why children are dying? What are the causes? What is it that we are only doing because the government and partners are doing a lot to change these? So, we are trying to understand what is happening right now. What is the current status? What are the bottlenecks and challenges as well as what we need to do more? And do we need to do everything differently?

“There is also focus around Thrive, we know that nutrition is a concern particularly malnutrition linked with stunting, wasting for children.

“We are trying to work with the commissioners and their teams to address these problems. A lot happening in this area, huge commitments by government to change these but we want to see how to accelerate the pace to reach every child in the zone, make sure every child, women get the package of services and are able to access care and get quality care. Our aim is to take the region forward.”





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