The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is to screen at least three million children for acute malnutrition in the North-East.
The UNICEF’s Communication Officer in Nigeria, Folashade Adebayo, disclosed this in a statement issued on Monday in Maiduguri, Borno State.
She said the screening would be conducted with a grant from the Japanese government.
According to her, the grant will assist UNICEF to work with mothers and other caregivers to boost community-based food production.
It will also help in the detection, referral, and monitoring of children with severe acute malnutrition in Borno and Yobe States.
Adebayo said: “Children with severe acute malnutrition are at a significantly higher risk of death as compared to well-nourished children.
“A recent survey found that malnutrition rates in children between six months and 59 months are as high as 10 percent in Borno and up to 12.3 percent in Yobe.
“This is well above the 5 percent threshold globally recognised to be of public health significance.
“With COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant loss of livelihoods and food insecurity, thousands more children could be at risk of malnutrition-related deaths or stunting in the region this year.
“The new grant will aid in the early detection and prompt treatment of children suffering from acute malnutrition.
“It will build a strong network of community nutrition responders who can ensure quick referrals of malnourished children to health facilities where trained health workers will be able to help them.”