UNICEF: 11m Children are Malnourished in Nigeria Due to Low Level of Breastfeeding
By Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that no fewer than 11 million children under the age of five are malnourished in Nigeria as a result of low level of exclusive breastfeeding.
This was disclosed by UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Bauchi, Abdulai Kaikai, represented by a Nutritionist, Philomena Irene, Wednesday during the flag-off of the scaling up of Community Management for Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites which is part of the programme to commemorate this year’s breast feeding week organised by UNICEF in collaboration with the Bauchi State government and the state chapter of the Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) held at Miri Primary Health Care centre in Bauchi.
She said that the level of exclusive breastfeeding in Nigeria was only 17 per cent, meaning that 5.4 million children each year miss out on its benefits, contributing to the country’s problem of chronic child malnutrition.
According to her, the low rate of exclusive breastfeeding leads to more than 100,000 child deaths and translates into almost $12 billion in future economic losses for the country.
In her address at the occasion, the wife of the state governor, Hajiya Hadiza Mohammed, reiterated her commitment to strengthening health care services in the state by ensuring that women are sensitised regularly on the importance of breastfeeding.