By Joy Odor
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Representatives of Nutrition Stakeholders on Wasting Management has gathered to seek solution to reduce wasting prevalence to less than 5% by the year 2025 and further reduce wasting prevalence to less than 3% by the year 2030 in Nigeria.
In his welcome address at the Nutrition Stakeholders Consultative Workshop in Abuja on Thursday, the USAID Mission Nutrition Manager in Nigeria, Mr Ebenezer Oluloto informed that the Global Actions Plan and Nigeria’s operational road map to address wasting prevalence in children under 5 years is 7% at the national level which translates into over 2.7 million wasted children under 5 years.
The report narrated that only two out of 10 of these children have access to the needed treatment including the Ready -To -Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
RUTF is an energy-densed, mineral and vitamin enriched food that requires no preparation and specifically designed to treat Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
He said the Global Actions Plan to address wasting are focused on four outcomes: Reduced incidence of low birth weight, Improved child health, Improved infant and young child feeding, Improved prevention and treatment of children with wasting Malnutrition is said to have a far-reaching impact on the most vulnerable populations, especially children, adolescents, women and those within the first 1000 days from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday.
According to him, the USAID would support the Government of Nigeria to strengthen wasting prevention and treatment services to help improve and achieve the sustainable goals expected by 2025.
Mr Oluloto pointed out that its mission is to also improve nutrition for healthy, productive and resilient Nigeria as addressing malnutrition is critical to improving health, education and economic development.
The USAID Nutrition Manager added that it is aimed to harness the participants inputs from both the nutrition sensitive experts, to define priorities and strategies to strengthen the quality of an access of touristy management services in Nigeria.
“According to a 2021 UNICEF report, over two million children under the age of five in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) annually and only two out of ten of affected children have access to the needed treatment with ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF).
“If nothing is done, about 20% (400,000) of these children could die.Local procurement is presently viable, with increased numbers of local producers including Ariel foods, Emzor- foods, Dabs and Nutri-K to guarantee an adequate supply of commodities on a sustainable basis.
“USAID is committed to combating malnutrition in partnership with the Government of Nigeria. Addressing malnutrition is critical to improving health, education, and economic development. G
“Global Actions Plan to address wasting are focused on four outcomes: Reduced incidence of low birth weight Improved child health, Improved infant and young child feedingImproved prevention and treatment of children with wasting Management has a far-reaching impact on the most vulnerable populations, especially children, adolescents, and women and those within the first 1000 days from pregnancy through a child’s second birthday” he noted.
Mr Oluloto stressed that addressing the multifaceted challenges of malnutrition remains one of the agency’s greatest areas of focus and USAID will continue to collaborate with the Government of Nigeria to provide support for women, children, and adolescents at risk of malnutrition.
He commended the participates and look forward to improved networking and actionable key next steps to address wasting and scale up sustainable investment to prevent, detect and treat child wasting as well as follow up of treated children.
Also speaking, the Senior Technical Advisor to World Bank, Ms Antonia said World Bank is supporting the Federal Government of Nigeria on accelerating nutrition results in Nigeria and is working in 12 States in Nigeria in advancing nutrition.
While the Representative of the World Food Program (WFP) and Head of Nutrition, Ms Darline Raphael ensure to support the Government of Nigeria to ensure that children, pregnant and lactating women receive the necessary treatment when it comes to acute malnutrition, at the same time fulfilling its mandate for the World Food Program mostly in the northeast part of the country.
She maintained that WFP respond to emergency situation and provide not only treatment for moderate acute malnutrition, but as well as prevention programs.
Contributing, the representative from the Federal Ministry of Health and Acting Head of Nutrition, Mr John Uruakpa said although a lot have been achieved in the improvement of Nutrition, a lot more need to be done.