13m Under-5 Nigerian Children Suffer Chronic Malnutrition – Momah

The Network Coordinator of Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) Dr Philippa Momah has disclosed that over 13 million under- five years children in Nigeria are currently suffering from chronic malnutrition and may likely suffer serious health and developmental problems.

This is coming on the heels of observations that policy makers and duty -bearers excluded nutrition in the 2016 Annual Budget for the Federation and at State levels.

She stated this yesterday in Abuja at a town hall meeting organised by CS-SUNN with the theme, “Strengthening in-country accountability for Maternal, Child and Adolescent nutrition.

Momah further revealed that 1.6 million children between six months and five years old suffering from acute malnutrition are nine times likely to die than well -nourished children saying that about 300, 000 of such children will die in 2016 without treatment.

She said though exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months of life is effective in preventing children from

malnutrition that the practise was very low in Nigeria even as she pleaded with the three tiers of government to extend maternity leave to six months in order to protect exclusive breastfeeding.

On her part, the Advocacy Adviser Nutrition for Save the Children, Dr Yinka Adekugbe noted that Nigeria loses 800, 000 under five children annually which accounts to about 11 percent of total global under-five deaths.

She was optimistic that malnutrition is the underlying cause of about 53% of child deaths in Nigeria stressing that Nigeria is the leading country in Africa and third globally with over 13 million children who are chronically undernourished.

According to her, “The Nigeria Democratic Healthy Survey (NDHS) of 2013 reveals that 37% of children under age 5 are stunted, 18% are wasted, and 29% are underweight while only 10% of children within the ages 6-23 months are fed appropriately based on recommended Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices.

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