Severe Acute Malnutrition kills 49 children in Gombe

•as MNCH Coalition advocates HIV testing kits for CMAM centres

49 children under five years have so far died as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and other health-related problems in Gombe state between January to August, The disclosure was made just as the state government has been called upon, to as a matter of necessity release fund for the procurement of HIV testing […]

49 children under five years have so far died as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and other health-related problems in Gombe state between January to August,

The disclosure was made just as the state government has been called upon, to as a matter of necessity release fund for the procurement of HIV testing kits for all the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres in the state.

Making the disclosure and call was the Chairman of Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) coalition in the state, Mal. Alhassan Yaya in an interview with the Newsmen in Gombe on Thursday.

Alhassan Yaya said that the Coalition recently went round the six Local Government Areas out of the 11 in the state, where nutrition services are rendered lamenting however that the centres do not have testing kits for HIV screening a development he said needed to be addressed promptly.

Alhassan Yahaya said that “What we realized was that some children were receiving treatment for long, but there is no improvement. After our investigation, we found out that there were no testing kits for HIV screening at the centres”.

He opined that “These children may be infected with HIV that was why their condition is not improving hence the need for testing kits to know their status”.

According to him, HIV, Hepatitis, and Genotype screening are necessary for malnourished children because it is only through the test that they will know the child’s status before placing him on drugs and Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) popularly called a plumpy nut.

RUTF is a dietary supplement used for the feeding of Severe Acute Malnourished children or children with special nutrition requirements.

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The coalition also called on the state government to release the remaining N50 million approved for the procurement of RUTF saying that, initially the amount approved was N75m and out of the amount N25 million was released and 1,514 cartons of RUTF was procured and distributed at the CMAM centres across the six LGAs.

He said that “Presently we do not have a single cartoon of RUTF at the medical store, we distributed all to the CMAM centres. As soon as the one at the CMAM centres finishes, we will go back to square one”.

Alhassan Yahaya pleaded with the Governor of the state that, “I am appealing to the government to release the remaining N50 million for the procurement of RUTF to save the lives of our children,”.

MNCH coalition is a group of professionals in diverse fields advocating for improvement in Maternal and Child Health in the state while RUTF is a dietary supplement used for the feeding of Severe Acute Malnourished children or children with special nutrition requirements.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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