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‘Bauchi has high rate of acute malnutrition’

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that Bauchi State still faces a high prevalence of acute malnutrition of 28.2% and a high stunting…

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has revealed that Bauchi State still faces a high prevalence of acute malnutrition of 28.2% and a high stunting rate of 45.6% a situation which is over the national indices of 19.9% and 32.0% prevalence of acute malnutrition and stunting.

UNICEF Nutrition Officer Dr Jackson Martin disclosed this in Miri town of the state during a week-long free medical service for women and children in all the 23 wards across the state, tagged ‘Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Week’.

He said the 2018 SMART Survey report indicated that only 29.3 percent of children aged 6-59 months received at least one high-dose of Vitamin A supplement in the six months.

Martin explained that Vitamin A is an essential micronutrient for child development, saying that at younger ages, inadequate intake can result in vitamin A deficiency (VAD) causing xerophthalmia, a serious eye disorder that can lead to blindness.

Martins added that sub-clinical Vitamin A deficiency makes children more vulnerable to infection, reducing their ability to fight common childhood diseases, such as measles, diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections (ARI), adding that It is estimated that increasing vitamin A intake can decrease childhood mortality from such illnesses by 12%, or nearly one-eighth of childhood deaths.

He said UNICEF has provided 180,000 packs of micro nutrient powder, worth over N43 million and data tools which contained essential vitamins and important minerals for children between the ages of 6 to 24 months, to improve child immunity.

He explained that a total of 4,032 bottles of Vitamin A (the blue and red capsules) worth over N12.5 million will be given to children during the exercise, pointing out that as a UN agency with a mandate of child survival and development, UNICEF has continued to work with other partners to support Bauchi State to implement the Maternal, Newborn Child Health week.

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