No fewer than 124 children have died of malnutrition in Kaduna State between January and September with 15,329 cured of the diseases within the same period.
The State Nutrition Officer, Mrs Ramatu Musa, disclosed this in Kaduna on Thursday while presenting the nutrition situation in the state at a two-day meeting organised by Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria.
The meeting was organised to strengthen advocacy skills and capacity of health and nutrition CSOs, media and government officials, to identify areas of priorities in nutrition interventions.
Musa, who was represented by Mr Jibril Isah, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Board, said that a total of 21,265 malnourished children under five years were admitted.
She said that they were admitted in various Community Management of Acute Malnutrition in the state.
“Out of the figure, 124 children died of the diseases, 15,329 cured, 324 did not recover, 2,188 defaulted on treatment and 199 with complications referred to stabilisation centres across the state and 3,101 are undergoing treatment.
“Currently, CMAM is being implemented in 77 health facilities in 15 Local Government Areas of the state, while Infant and Young Child Feeding is being implemented in 13 LGAs.
“We equally have 796 trained Community Volunteers, 45 in each LGA except Igabi with 63 and Kajuru 238 mobilising community members for optimal IYCF practices,” he said.
She said that a total of 95,906 mothers, women, grandmothers, and men were reached with IYCF messages by 904 support groups in the state.
The nutrition officer said that out of the figure, 27,469 pregnant women were reached, 24,767 mothers of children less than six months of age, and 23,993 mothers of children six to 23 months.
She identified others as 19,448 women of childbearing age, 12,762 grandmothers and 7,467 men, adding that 13,473 children under five years were referred to health facilities for treatment.
The CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, described the development as “worrisome”, pointing out that malnutrition was killing more children than COVID-19.
According to him, 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.
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 children under five years in the state at 4.8 per cent.
The figure translates to 85,450 children according to official reports by SPHCDB, 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.