The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said that over 2.5 million children suffer from severe malnutrition in northern Nigeria.
The officer in charge of UNICEF in Kaduna, Idris Baba, gave the figure at a meeting with traditional and religious leaders in northern Nigeria to scale-up nutrition interventions on food and nutrition organised by the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with UNICEF, Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and other stakeholders in Kaduna over the weekend.
He said, “Nigeria is the second largest contributor to the death of children under 5 years of age. In Nigeria, two out of five children do not get the nutrients they need for body and strength development and over 13 million are affected in the country.”
Baba said addressing malnutrition was of high importance to efficiently achieve some parts of the Sustainable Development Goals, especially “those relating to hunger and child and maternal health.”
On his own part, the CAN Chairman, Reverend Yakubu Pam identified ‘stinginess of parents’ as one of the major causes of child malnutrition in Nigeria.
“Some parents have the money, but they never spend it on adequately feeding or taking care of their children. There was a time when just a thousand naira caused the death of a child. A woman was asked to pay for her child’s medication, but she insisted on contacting her husband for permission before removing some money, despite having N6,000 tied in her wrapper,” he said.