Over 280, 000 pregnant women, care givers and children under five will benefit from maternal nutrition counselling and acute malnutrition management services support under a new funding package supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).
The new funding of SEK 26 million an equivalent of US$ 2.7 million, will be implemented by UNICEF and partners. The fund will also help improve access to safe water, sanitation systems and hygiene for 86,000 conflict-affected women and children in north-east Nigeria.
This fund will provide succour ro north-east Nigeria which for the past thirteen years of armed conflict have been bedevilled with various degrees of insecurity, loss of livelihood opportunities, high food prices and COVID-19 combined.
A situation that have put 4.1 million people in need of food assistance, drastically impacting the food and nutrition quality available for children in the region, left women and children in acute vulnerability.
Congestion in camps and settlements, high rates of open defecation and poor sanitation practices have put conflict-affected families and children at the risk of disease outbreaks and preventable deaths.
North-east Nigeria is currently experiencing its highest burden of acute malnutrition since 2016, with 34 per cent projected increase in the burden of acute malnutrition in the lean season of 2022, compared to 2021. Unless urgent actions are taken, at least 1.7 million under five children in north-east Nigeria will need acute malnutrition treatment in 2022.
Peter Hawkins, UNICEF Representative in Nigeria, describing malnutrition, said it is the single most deadly threat to child survival and development as it is dealing with children in north-east Nigeria and making it a deadly hand.
“Insecurity, global hike in food prices and ongoing humanitarian interventions targeting early detection at the household level are resulting in a record number of under five children presenting symptoms of acute malnutrition and needing urgent life-saving services.
“UNICEF is grateful that the support from SIDA will not only help to scale treatment services to more children and address contributory water and sanitation services issues in camps and settlements, but will also help increase investment in preventive nutrition services targeting pregnant women and lactating mothers with maternal nutrition services,’’ said Peter Hawkins.
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