Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN), a coalition of nongovernmental organizations pushing for nutritional security of Nigerian children, has raised alarm over the rising malnutrition among children aged under five in Kano.
The survey report presented by the organization revealed that 58 in every 100 malnourished children are at risk of stunting as a result of imbalance in their dietary intake.
Stunting, which is a health condition in which a child is too short for their age, is said to be accompanied with poor brain development.
The executive Secretary of CS-SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka said stunting has increased in Kano by more than 5% in the last four years in spite of the efforts of the state government to addressing the plight of malnourished children in the state.
It could be recalled that the state government had in 2017 released about N294m as counterpart fund for the purchase of Ready-to-Use therapeutic food for the management and treatment of severely malnourished children.
Eluaka identified malnutrition as the key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, thereby urging the Kano state government to intensify efforts with a view to addressing the growing phenomenon of stunting among its young population.
“Available statistics indicate an alarming rising trend in the state’s malnutrition burden which continues to be key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, poor cognitive development and increased severity of diseases adversely affecting under-5 children in the state.
“It is particularly worrisome to note that the latest Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey (MICS) shows an alarming increase stunting and underweight rates for the state. Data from MICS 2017 puts the stunting rate at 58%, underweight 40.3%” Eluaka said.
She described stunting as direct measure of the country’s level of development, urging the Kano state government and other development partner agencies to increase funding allocation to nutrition so as to curb the menace of malnutrition in the state.
She further emphasized the need for women of child-bearing age to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for their children, describing breast milk as the best immunity supplement for the new-born.