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UNICEF: Over 700k children in north-east will suffer acute malnutrition in 2023

UNICEF: Over 700k children in north-east will suffer acute malnutrition in 2023
June 19
22:42 2023

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says over 700,000 children in north-east Nigeria will need treatment for acute wasting in 2023.

In a statement on Monday, Cristian Munduate, UNICEF representative in Nigeria, said the agency has partnered with the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) to tackle issues of wasting and disease outbreak in conflict areas in the north-east.

Munduate said the agencies inaugurated a programme that will target about 88,000 people as well as nearly 50,000 children battling acute malnutrition in Yobe, Adamawa and Borno states.

She said the programme will run for one year and will empower mothers and caregivers on how to identify wasting in their children.

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“UNICEF in partnership with European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) today launched a groundbreaking programme to expedite life-saving responses, and deliver essential nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene supplies to children in Nigeria’s conflict-affected north-east region,” the statement reads.

“This new collaboration between the two agencies targets those living in crowded camps for displaced persons and conflict-stricken locations throughout the region.

“The programme’s main objective is to establish preventative measures and treatments to mitigate wasting, disease outbreaks, and child protection risks, thereby reducing mortality and morbidity amongst children already plagued by conflict and repeated displacements.

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“The longstanding conflict in Nigeria’s north-east region continues to extract a grave toll on children’s wellbeing, as well as on pregnant and lactating women.

“The UN estimates that over 8 million people require humanitarian aid, with roughly 2.2 million children under five and pregnant or lactating women suffering from wasting in Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe states.

“Alarmingly, 60 percent of children in these three states are impacted by wasting, with only 31 percent of these children having access to treatment services. This year alone, UNICEF and partners project that over 700,000 children will require wasting treatments across north-east Nigeria.

“The innovative programme will extend the use of the mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) approach—an easily applied method for assessing children’s malnutrition status—to a greater number of vulnerable infants and young children.

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“This programme will prioritize supporting both nutrition and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sectors, enabling partner organisations to coordinate effectively and deliver vital supplies swiftly, particularly in crisis-prone locations.”

The UNICEF representative commended ECHO for the support, adding that women and children in conflict areas should also enjoy essential services.

“Children and women in north-east Nigeria need not continue being deprived of fundamental survival services. We must work relentlessly to eradicate wasting and prevent needless deaths among the country’s most disadvantaged individuals,” she added.

“We are profoundly grateful for ECHO’s support, which will enable us to reach the most vulnerable children. This means fewer deaths and more healthy children It also ensures our clinics will consistently have essential medications and micronutrients to enhance child survival rates.”

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