North-East children fighting rising rates of hunger – UNICEF
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North-East children fighting rising rates of hunger – UNICEF

Concerns about the alarming rate of acute malnutrition among children have been raised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in the Marte local government area of Borno state, where humanitarian personnel are unable to reach.

The UN agency stated that households’ capacity to produce food on their farmlands has been further impacted by protracted violence, leading to heightened food insecurity.

Andrea Malatesta, the UNICEF emergency manager, made the announcement soon after returning from a weekend field tour to Marte LGA in Borno State.

He emphasized the urgent need for a comprehensive solution to the growing malnutrition crisis among children in northeast Nigeria.

“Uncertainty is still the biggest obstacle. Humanitarian activities in New Marte depend significantly on military escort to move troops, goods, and other vital resources to aid the local population impacted by the conflict, as road access is the only option.

For the secure flow of people and commodities, military escorts or safety sweeps are necessary in this area due to the security concerns.

“Risks and vulnerabilities may arise, though, because the availability of these escorts is not always consistent or dependable.”

Andrea insisted that many families do without healthy food and resort to eating less frequently as a means of dealing with this issue.

We are ensuring that the therapeutic meals, supplements, and medications that children with SAM require are available with the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

Consequently, there is an abundance of MAM and SAM since children and nursing moms do not have access to healthy food.

In the states of Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe, more than 460,000 children received treatment for acute malnutrition in 2023.

There have been 8,605 malnutrition screenings for children aged 6–59 months this year. During these screenings, 2,156 youngsters were found to be malnourished; they were enrolled in a nutrition program and made a full recovery. 1,588 cases of mild acute malnutrition and 1,358 cases of severe acute malnutrition. It was Andrea who gave the explanation.

No kid in New Marte should die from starvation, cholera, or water-related illnesses, he said, mentioning that UNICEF and its partner, Monclub International, are implementing the Rapid Response Mechanism (RRM) program.


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