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Insecurity, COVID-19 aggravate acute malnutrition among children in N’east

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The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday said that acute malnutrition is the biggest threat to child survival and development due to insecurity and displacements in the northeast region.

UNICEF’s nutrition manager at its Maiduguri field office, Dr Sangita Jacob Duggal raised the alarm on Tuesday at a three-day media dialogue on child malnutrition reporting organised by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF in Maiduguri.

She also warned that malnutrition is currently the biggest threat to child survival and development in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the three states worst hit by Boko Haram insurgency.

She noted that poor feeding environment, hygiene, and health services have been identified as the underlying causes of under-nutrition in children.

“Households in the region are experiencing unprecedented levels of food crisis and hunger.

“The acute malnutrition is on increasing due to displacement, COVID19 pandemic, insecurity, food insecurity and others.

“Conflict however in the region led to multiple displacements, destruction of sources of livelihood for households,” she said.

She noted malnutrition is the underlying cause of about 50 per cent of all deaths among children aged under five globally.

Duggal added that the destruction of basic infrastructure and services, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to the growing number of children affected by under-nutrition.

She stressed that these had a far-reaching impact on child education, health, adult earning power, individual and family finance, as well as the country’s economy.

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