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USAID partners FG to combat malnutrition in Nigeria

By Naomi Douglas

United States Agency for International Development USAID, in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria has expressed its commitment and determination to combat malnutrition for the purpose of improving health and education of the people, which it said will go a long way to develop the economy of the country.

Representative of USAID Nigeria, Mr. Ebenezer Oluloto stated this in Abuja at the Nutrition Stakeholders’ Consultation Workshop on Wasting Management in Nigeria organised by USAID.

He said malnutrition has 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, hence the need to deal with it accordingly.

Oluloto explained that Global Actions trying to address wasting have focused on four outcomes, such as reduction of incidence of low birth weight, improved child health, improved infant and young child feeding and improved prevention and treatment of children with wasting.

He said, 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.”

USAID Representative asserted that if nothing is urgently done about the 20% 400,000 of these children already affected could die.

According to him, “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.”

“Manufacturers however face the challenge of locally available raw materials like aflatoxin-free peanuts, milk powder, and micronutrients pre-mixes, and have to rely on importation which drives up the cost, coupled with uncertainties in return on investment and ready market for products”, he added.

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