By Jutha Gupah Maiduguri

The Department for International Development (DFID) in partnership with Children’s Fund; has averted severe acute malnutrition (SAM) among 1.24 million children in Borno and Yobe states. The nine-year insurgency in the Northeast, prevented many farmers and herdsmen from production of crops and livestock for sale and distribution. UNICEF’s Nutrition Officer, Dr. Martin Jackson raises the alarm on Thursday, while presenting a paper on DFID support and childhood development and protection workshop in Yola, Adamawa state. He disclosed that the integrated nutritional projects targeted 12 Local Government Areas in Borno and Yobe states. According to him, the SAM pilot projects are located in Shani and Nangere councils targeting 38,700 children suffering from malnutrition. He explained that the multi-sectoral pilot project on malnutrition was to integrate “basic nutrition responses” to humanitarian crisis in the insurgency affected states. His words: “As the DFID about to enter last quarter of projects implementation, 200,000 cartons of ready to be use therapeutic food (RUTF) were procured for distribution to 240,000 children with severe acute malnutrition.” He said that 38, 700 children drawn from insurgency region and suffering from SAM, have already been treated. Speaking on childhood development and protection, he said: “The 32, 300 identified pregnant and lactating women are each currently receiving monthly cash transfer of N5, 000. “Community members in the councils of Shani and Nangere were also provided with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) facilities to guard against preventable diseases of cholera, polio, diarrhea, meningitis, malaria, measles and hepatitis. “This is to sustain the nutritional status of both children and their mothers for a minimum period of 12 months and before weaning their babies.” He said that over 195,000 pregnant women in the insurgency affected states also received iron/folate supplements.