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Nigeria’s malnutrition situation worsens

  • New report shows drop in infant, U-5 mortality

A malnourished child

Latest Fifth Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey conducted in Nigeria has revealed a drop in infant and children under-five, but more children, especially in the country’s northeast suffer from malnutrition than previously experienced and reported.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), United Nations Children Fund, UNICEF and other key partners officially released the results of the survey, which was conducted in 2016 and 2017, this week.

According to a statement made available to Nigeria Health Online by UNICEF office in Nigeria, the survey showed that while there were some good improvements in some areas, others remain unchanged or have worsened since 2011 “by not keeping pace with population growth when the last survey was conducted.

“For example, according to the results, the infant mortality rate has dropped to 70 per 1000 live births from 97 in 2011. Equally, deaths among children under age five have dropped to 120 per 1000 live births from 158 in 2011.

“However, malnutrition among children under age five has worsened nationwide with the highest concerns in northern states. Child wasting (children who are too thin for their age) increased from 24.2% to 31.5%, while child stunting (children who are too short for their age) increased from 34.8% to 43.6%,” part of the release said.

MICS5 is a recognized and definitive source of information for assessing the situation of children and women in the areas of health; nutrition; water, sanitation & hygiene (WASH); education; protection; and

HIV & AIDS amongst others – in Nigeria as well as in other countries where it is carried out.

The findings of the survey are used for planning, monitoring and decision making on programmes and policies to address issues related to the wellbeing of children and women in Nigeria.

Acting Representative for UNICEF in Nigeria, Pernille Ironside, was quoted in the release as saying: “the use of this new MICS5 data will improve the lives of Nigerians by informing about important gaps that are impacting children and women so that appropriate actions can be taken”, adding that “it is not about data for the sake of data.”

UNICEF said since 1995, it has supported the NBS with technical assistance and funding to conduct five rounds of MICS, informing progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other major national and global commitments.

According to the agency, data for MICS5 were collected between September 2016 and January 2017 from 33,901 households in 2,239 enumeration areas across the 36 States and Federal Capital Territory.

“A total of 34,376 eligible women; 28,085 of mothers/caregivers of children under 5 years; and 15,183 men were interviewed using structured questionnaires aided by Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) devices.  This is the largest MICS survey conducted in Africa to date,” UNICEF said.

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