May 25, 2024

In Nigeria malnutrition  remains a problem of public health significance across all age groups and geographies. The causes and risks factors of malnutrition are multifaceted, thus a multi-sectoral approach is needed to address them.

The national policy on food and nutrition in Nigeria was revised in 2016; it provides the overarching policy framework for multi-sectoral action to reduce malnutrition in the country. The policy recognises the multi-sectoral and cross-cutting nature of food and nutrition, thereby setting the tone for a multi-sectoral response to reducing malnutrition.

Reducing wasting is a priority in both policy documents with a target to reduce childhood wasting including severe acute malnutrition from 18% in 2013 to 10% in 2025.

Due to the ongoing conflicts in the northeastern state of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe, the united nation cluster system has been activated. Thereby facilitating the flow of humanitarian funding for nutrition to support the estimated 1.3 million wasted children living in the States. However data indicates that needs are equally great in all the northern states that are not benefiting from this humanitarian support. The north is 9.7% and the northwest 9% have nearly doubled the proportion of wasted children compared to other zones. However it is important to note that the north east prevalence remains high despite the significant humanitarian resources dedicated to both treat and prevent wasting.

Read also national multi sectoral plan of action for food and nutrition in nigeria

While acknowledging the complexity of the humanitarian needs in cluster- supported states in the Northeast is important it is necessary to ensure that all children in need of Western treatment can receive it regardless of where they live. Furthermore to reduce the overall burden of Western and the additional stress it puts on the health system a holistic plan is needed to prevent children from becoming wasted in the first place.

To achieve the goal set out in the Global action plan on child western UN agencies supported 23 front-runner country government to identify a core set of ambitious yet feasibly priority actions to address wasting (United Nations 2020). Nigeria was one of this front-runner countries. The Nigeria GAP country road map has set the following target that it hopes to achieve by 2025 by implementing a priority set of interventions through the health, food, WASH and Social Protection systems: reduce low birth weight to 4.9%; increase the rate of exclusive breastfeeding to 65%, increase the coverage of Treatment Services to 50% for children with wasting; and improve child health by achieving universal health coverage, including access to Quality essential Healthcare services for a select percentage of the population ( UNICEF, FOA, UNHCR, WFP, and WHO 2021 )

The main objectives of the Wasting consultation is to define priorities and strategies for the government of Nigeria, implementing Partners, and donors to strengthen the quality of and access to Wasting management services and activities, inclusive of both prevention and treatment.

The USAID advancing nutrition team consulted with stakeholders within the project’s three Focus state of bauchi, Kebbi and sokoto, and the national-level stakeholders. Additionally, because the availability of RUTF is so critical to ensuring that a holistic Continuum of care for wasted children can be implemented.

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