Severe Acute Malnutrition: Nigeria ranks second-highest in number of stunted children

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Over 2.5 million Nigerian children under the age of five years are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

This figure places Nigeria as the country with the second-highest number of stunted children in the world.

This was made known by Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba at the flag-off of the 2020 Nigeria nutrition week in Abuja on Monday.

Agba noted that “despite concerted efforts by the government in recent years, particularly in the areas of child nutrition and breastfeeding, malnutrition (and other public health issues) have remained a challenge”.

He stated that this challenge “must be addressed through the implementation of innovative policies and strategies that are appropriately funded, data-driven, sustainable and optimized in terms of transparency and accountability for the efforts to yield the desired results.”

The Minister said in addition that the government “must also continue to work collaboratively across all levels of governments and hand-in-hand with the private sector and development partners in this regard.”

He lamented that Nigeria’s food and nutrition situation and the attendant poor global image in terms of economic and development milestones are major concerns to the federal government.

This development he said has forced the government to create a platform to mobilize nutrition stakeholders towards addressing the challenge of malnutrition, which has been termed “the silent killer”.

The platform is a week-long “Nutrition Campaign Week.”

He said Nigeria has shown a clear commitment to the eradication of malnutrition through the adoption and domestication of policies and costed strategic plans, which emphasizes increased reliance on domestic funding; and a well-coordinated multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholders’ approach backed by sustained high-level political commitment.

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