Malnutrition is a national disaster…
From, Femi Mustapha
Malnutrition has been described as a national disaster that if not checked can destroy children who are supposed to be leaders of tomorrow. The Project Director of Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria; Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, disclosed this at a 3-day Capacity Building and Field visit with Health Editors/Senior Reporters, held in Kaduna yesterday.
Mrs. Eluaka who described malnutrition as a condition that occurs when people consistently do not consume or absorb the right amounts and types of food and essential nutrients.
According to her, the main indicators of Childhood malnutrition are stuning, a condition when children are too short for their age; wasting a condition where they are too thin for their height ; and underweight when they don’t weigh enough for their age.
She expressed that stunted children have poor physical growth and brain development, preventing them from thriving and living up to their potential.
Speaking on Nigeria nutrition situation, SC-SUN said malnutrition among Nigeria’s children is a serious problem throughout the country.
“About 2 in 5 Nigerian children are stunted, with rates of stunting varying throughout the country (ranging from 26% in the South-East and 55% in the North-West).
“Almost 30 percent of Nigerian children are Underweight. The percentage of children in Nigeria who are wasted, has steadily increased over the last decade, rising from 11 percent in 2003 to 18 percent in 2013.
“About 70 percent of children aged 6 to 23 months are not receiving the minimum acceptable diet. The 2013 NDHS shows that 11.4 percent of adult Women had a body mass index (BMI) lower than 18.5,” she said.
Earlier in her own remarks, the Communication Officer of SC-SUN, Lilian Ajah-mong, said Nassarawa, Niger and Kaduna State has the largest malnutrition among children under – five in Nigeria which has resulted to higher healthcare cost, lower GDP, lower earnings in adulthood and high child morbidity and mortality.
Ajah-mong said the media is a strong partners in the fight against malnutrition, hence the need for the workshop. She tasked the participants to use their profession as Journalists to bring to the attention of those concern the high malnutrition rate in the country.