No fewer than 11,566 new cases of malnourished children were enrolled in 38 Community Management of Acute Malnutrition centres of Zamfara state within the fi rst six months of the fi scal year (2017) as more than 160 confi rmed dead as a result of the case. Th is was announced yesterday by the state Nutrition Offi cer, Samaila Bakwai Umar, at the opening ceremony of a fi ve-day meeting on the development of fi ve- year nutrition strategic plan for two local governments’ immunization and nutrition advocacy pilot project.
Th is is being supported by Save the Children – Gates Advocacy project, which noted that “malnutrition remains a public health problem in Zamfara state, and the country.” Umar said out of the children admitted in the various centres, 11, 064 were treated and cured, while over 160 died as a result of severe acute malnutrition within the past six months. He disclosed that 38 Primary Health Care Facilities and 11 secondary health facilities were “currently managing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition programme in the state,” pointing out that about 40,000 estimated children in the state “are at the risk of dying in 2017 as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition.”
Some of the major challenges of nutrition intervention in the state, according to him, include “insuffi cient numbers of trained health workers to provide health and nutrition services, weak release of funds to ensure timely transportation of nutrition commodities to the health facilities, inadequate skills to provide high impact nutrition services –resulting in high costs in-service training, inappropriate and Inadequate IYCF practices among caregivers of under-fi ve children, and poor utilisation of nutrition services by target benefi ciaries.” In his remarks, Save the Children Advocacy and Communication Coordinator, Isah Ibrahim, said recent research published in the Lancet in 2016, revealed that increasing breastfeeding to nearuniversal levels could save more than 820, 000 lives every year. He said recent report published by UNICEF “indicates that Nigeria loses about 2, 300 children under the age of fi ve every day (about 1 million annually); 70% of these deaths are due to preventable diseases and half of the deaths are among malnourished children.” Ibrahim said nine out of every 100 children in Zamfara “dies before their fi rst birthday and almost two children out of every 10 children do not live to see their fi fth birthday.