A child nutrition expert Silas Ideva has described the spate of malnutrition in Kaduna State as “worrisome”, pointing out that malnutrition was killing more children than COVID-19.
Mr. Ideva, who is the Kaduna State coordinator of Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) said COVID-19 so far killed 43 people in the state based on the data by the National Centre for Disease Control, compared to the 124 killed by malnutrition in nine months.
Speaking at a two-day workshop organised for practitioners on Thursday, Mr. Ideva stressed that with poor funding and budget release for nutrition intervention, more children would continue to die of malnutrition.
The National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018) puts the number of Moderate Acute Malnourished (MAM) children under five years in Kaduna at 4.8 per cent.
The figure translates to 85,450 children according to official reports by the state’s primary healthcare board, who are more likely to die if nothing is done to reverse the condition.
The survey also puts the percentage of stunted children at 48.1 per cent, representing 856,272 children under five years, whose future is bleak due to impaired brain development caused by malnutrition.
Research shows that stunting is irreversible, meaning that the 856,272 children may be under-productive and may become a burden to their society and the nation due to poor cognitive development.
The state government has allocated only N188 million for nutrition activities in its proposed 2021 budget against the N500 million allocated in 2020 which was later reviewed to N300 million due to COVID-19.