Malnutrition Crisis: Nigeria needs N3b to save 3M children

In Nigeria, children often face abuse and exploitation in childhood due to lack of access to good nutrition and health.
Manultrition in children
Manultrition in childrengoogle

Kabiru, a child born with hope, faced insecurity and poverty from birth. Despite being expected to be healthy and strong, Kabiru’s growing body and brain required all the necessary nutrients, highlighting the need for better nutrition and health access in children like Kabiru.

Pregnant women prioritize their unborn children by providing essential minerals like iron and calcium. However, when they eat little or nothing, they have less to pass on to their babies. In Nigeria, 7.8 million pregnant women suffer from anemia, while three million malnourished children are among the country’s top three. UNICEF calls malnutrition an unacceptable global issue, and no country can afford to overlook it.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says malnutrition increases health care costs, reduces productivity, and slows economic growth, which can perpetuate a cycle of poverty and ill-health. Malnutrition in Nigeria is a major issue, affecting 35 million children under five, with 12 million stunted, 3 million wasted, and 23.5 million anemic. The 2023 Cadre Report revealed 17.7 million hungry people, with 1 million suffering from acute food insecurity. The average reduction in stunting is only 1.4% per year. However, with just N11, 000 ($14,00), Nigeria’s future could be saved through high-impact preventive interventions.

Former President of Ghana, John A. Kufour, said, “The socio-economic gains of investing in nutrition are significant and lasting. Shouldn’t we do what we can to prepare a healthier future for our children?”

UNICEF’s Nutrition Officer, Nkeiru Enwelum, emphasized the urgent need for investments and funding in nutrition to reduce malnutrition and improve diet quality. Enwelum said failure to prevent malnutrition in children, including stunting, wasting, and underweight, leads to long-term, irreversible impacts on cognitive and physical growth. Nigeria’s 2023 GDP is N506.6 billion, and failing to prevent malnutrition results in a loss of N76 billion, or 15 percent of the GDP.

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