440,000 CHILDREN RISK ACUTE MALNUTRITION BY END OF 2019-UNICEF

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Jutha Gupah, Maiduguri

The United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF); has warned over the rise in Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) threats among 440, 000 children in Northeast region. Its Nutrition Specialist, Abigail Nyukuri, at the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), raised the alarm Thursday at a media dialogue in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. She stressed that urgent attention is required to contain the situation, as over 440,000 children in insurgency affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe; are likely to face SAM by end of this year. The nutritionist also lamented that; the malnutrition situation in region; has reached global emergency.

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According to her, there is the need for local and international attention to salvage the situation. She warned: “Over 440, 000 children under the age of five; are expected to come face to face with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the three states before the end of 2019.” She however said that the figure was expected to drop to 258, 950 by next year. “Breakdown of figure for 2019 indicates that 11% of children in Borno suffer SAM, 13% in Yobe and 6%  in Adamawa,’’ she said.

Nyukuri said the problem of malnutrition was worsened by the inability of local and international health and rescue workers to access some communities in Rann, Magumeri, Jere and Konduga councils of Borno. She attributed inaccessibility to the recent increase in activities of Boko Haram insurgents. She said that N4.4 billion was required to close the gap for the procurement of Ready -to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the malnourished children. She said RUTF is needed; for onwards distribution to malnourished children in Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps.

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