KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Kaduna state is said to have recorded an increase in the number of children on admission for malnutrition cases in the state.
Assistant State Nutrition Officer, State Primary Healthcare Board, (SPHCB), Mr. George Adams, asserted this at a media roundtable organized by Alive & Thrive, (A&T), held in Kaduna on Friday, September 22.
The Asst. State Nutrition Officer, quickly added that the increase in admissions for malnutrition cases in the state could be attributable to the increased number of CMAM sites, which means more people now access these facilities.
He gave the state profile as follows: “No. of PHCs/HCs 1.129; Facilities providing CMAM: 117; 17 Secondary health facilities at the stabilization center for the management of complications as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition;
“The State declared a state of emergency on malnutrition in 2017; Between 2013 (NDHS) and 2018 (NDHS) among children less than five years, the prevalence of -: Stunting has dropped from 41 7% to 22.1% Underweight: from 36.9% to 7.5%
Wasting: from 27.6% to 1.1% Low birth weight from 31.6% to 17.2%.”
Other reasons adduced to the increase are a result of the scale up of CMAM sites that cover the whole state, although more of CMAM sites are needed. “Insecurity has increased food security in communities which has thrown more children into malnutrition in most homes. People in these communities can’t cultivate their farmlands;
“Displacement of people from their ancestral homes from sacked communities by invading marauders. There is another issue of myths and misconception surrounding malnutrition, but with the community, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) programme and other nutrition enlightenment programmes, among others contributed to the high increase,” he added.
In separate messages, the new Permanent Secretary, Kaduna state Ministry of Environment, Linda Yakubu, said media partners are key in promoting the issue of Nutrition in the state, and thanked them for the level of commitment.
The state Communication, Nutrition Officer, Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria, (ANRiN) project, Mairo Tahir, opined that malnutrition is more of an issue of ignorance and not poverty, because communities most affected by malnutrition are farming communities, it is believed to be an issue of ignorance and maybe food management.
According to her, ANRiN has embarked on social and behavioural communication through jingles, and sent out different messages on MIYCN, anchored on five key areas – advocacy on early initiation, exclusive breastfeeding for six months, appropriate complementary feeding, hand washing component, infant and folic acid for pregnant mothers.
She said these five key messages are all running in four stations in the state, and solicited media’s support to kick out malnutrition in Kaduna state.
The Breast Milk Substitute, (BMS) Desk Officer, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC) Kaduna, Rahila Maishanu, said one of the factors responsible for the failure of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria is the
influence of aggressive marketing by breast milk substitute companies, adding that Kaduna however, has a record of 41 per cent of exclusive breastfeeding.
According to her, one major reason for implementing BMS code in the country is to promote optimal infant and young child feeding for child survival, growth and development.
Maishanu said the media is therefore key in the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, because the issue of nutrition starts and ends with information and education which the media is believed to be the best medium.
Earlier, A&T Zonal Coordinator, Sarah Didi Kwasu, harped on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, which she said has the potential to save more children’s lives than any other preventive intervention.
According to her, breastfed children have at least 6 times greater chance of survival in the early months than non-breastfed children, while an exclusive breastfed child is 14 times less likely to die in the first six months than a non-fed child.
“An estimated 13 percent of child deaths could be averted if 90 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfed their infants for the first six months of life.”
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