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53% childhood deaths in Nigeria caused by malnutrition ― Group

A nongovernmental organization with concern on nutrition, Civil Society-Scaling Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has said that 53 per cent of childhood deaths in Nigeria are caused by malnutrition-related illnesses.

The group made the disclosure in a communique at the end of a three-day workshop in Ilorin, which attracted participants from Kano, Lagos, Niger, Nassarawa and Kaduna states, including CS-SUNN principal officials led by Dr David Olayemi, Chairman CS-SUNN’s Steering Committee.

CS-SUNN is a coalition of NGOs and made up of 2,000 members across the six geopolitical zones with a vision to transform Nigeria to a food and nutrition secured economy.

The group, in the communique, said that malnutrition menace required urgent and drastic solutions from stakeholders.

It noted that Nigeria was presently recording 800, 000 under-five deaths yearly which accounted for 11 per cent of under-five deaths globally.

According to the group, a couple of responses both at National and Sub-national levels of government, partners and CSOs have been articulated and implemented in addressing the nutrition scourge.

“Malnutrition among women and children is a major challenge to the health of most countries, including Nigeria.

“Malnourished children have an increased risk of disability, infections and premature deaths.

“About 53 per cent of childhood deaths in Nigeria is underlined by malnutrition,” the communique said.

The group said that the objective of the workshop was to motivate nutrition volunteers, called champions, by showing them the current burden and funding gap for nutrition in all project locations.

Others are building the capacity of champions on relevant skills required for positive change in the nutrition landscapes of their states as well as developing an action plan that will guide the work of identified nutrition champions.

The group also advocated promotion of exclusive breastfeeding for infants and young child feeding coordination in tackling the menace.

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It also advocated adequate nutrition funding at both national and sub-national levels, tasking politicians to make nutrition campaign an important issue, as well as collaborating with the media in making nutrition funding a priority.

The communique stated that the workshop also resolved that all states champions would develop and implement an action plan to improve nutrition status in their states.

“A platform to be created for interaction, experience sharing on progress made among and between state nutrition champions.

“There will be identification and mobilisation of more nutrition champions in our individual states with the opportunity for a regular training to build their capacity and skills.

“All states should be encouraged to consider establishing state nutrition agencies to coordinate nutrition activities in their states,” the communique said.

The workshop was titled: “A three-day champions workshop on contribution to nutrition funding and visibility in Kano, Lagos, Niger, Nassarawa and Kaduna states.’’

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