A facilitator with Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Isaac Dare, has said that over 13 million children under five years in Nigeria are suffering from chronic malnutrition and are likely to suffer serious health and developmental consequences.
Dare, at a one day capacity building organised for the media, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government ministries and agencies on ‘Behaviour Change Communication on Nutrition Priorities’ by Medical Women’s Association of Nigeria (MWAN) in collaboration with the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in Asaba, Tuesday, noted that Nigeria Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) 2013, shows that 37 per cent of Nigerian children under five years are short for their age (stunted) due to chronic hunger, adding that stunting reflects failure to receive adequate nutrition over a long period of time.
According to him, 18 percent of under-five Nigerian children are wasted (thin) or acutely malnourished as a result of failure to receive adequate nutrition.
Dare noted that same survey revealed the 15 percent and 17 percent of under-five children in Delta State are stunted and wasted respectively.
He stressed the need for proper attention to be paid to the Infant and Young Child Feeding, especially from conception, early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life and introduction of complementary foods with continued breast feeding until 24 months, and beyond.
Noting also that (NDHS) showed only 33.2 percent kept to breastfeeding newborn within the first one hour of the baby’s life, only 17 percent kept to exclusive breastfeeding, while only 10 percent practiced recommended infant and young child feeding of giving their babies complementary foods after six months, while breastfeeding continued for up to two years of age or beyond, he explained that CS-SUNN in a non-governmental, non-profit making coalition, made up of organisations with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where every citizen has food and nutrition is secured.