UNICEF raises alarm, says 500,000 Nigerian children die annually from malnutrition


The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has lamented that Nigeria is losing no fewer than 500,000 infants to malnutrition annually, which it described as silent health crisis.
The international donor agency which began a two-day workshop Wednesday in Calabar, Cross River state for media executives and health correspondents of many Nigerian media organisations, stressed that unless something urgent is done, malnutrition would continue to take its toll on the nation’s children.
The workshop, tagged: #StopChildMalnutritionInNigeria, was coordinated by the UNICEF’s Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku with top officials of the federal and Cross River ministries of health in attendance.
Speaking on the nutritional situation in Nigeria and its impact on children, the Chief Nutritionist of the UNICEF, Arjan de Wagt said that most of the children die of malnutrition within their first 1000 days on earth, describing the period as “window period.”
Wagt said that the first 1000 days of a child are so important that they determine not only the child’s growth but also his entire health status throughout the life, up to old age.
The Chief Nutritionist stressed that malnutrition affects not only the poor but also some wealthy ones, adding that part of the effects of the malnutrition is obesity.
“Whenever we talk about malnutrition, the only thing that comes to the mind is that it is for the poor uneducated rural people who have less to eat. But malnutrition also includes eating wrong food or unbalanced diet. It is about lack of knowledge of the food we eat and not lack of food.”
Wagt said that the chief cause of malnutrition is lack of exclusive breast feeding of the child in the first six months of his birth, insisting that breast milk is made strictly for the babies and they must not be denied of it.
According to him, children that are not well-fed …Read More

Source:: New Mail