Posted by News Express | 8 February 2021 | 413 times
…Estimated 2m children suffer from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria, but only two out of every 10 children affected is currently reached with treatment — UNICEF
To complement and boost government efforts in tackling the issue of malnutrition in Nigeria, the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) has initiated processes to reach one million children with severe acute malnutrition across the country.
According to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) malnutrition is a direct or underlying cause of 45 per cent of all deaths of under-five children, and Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 37 per cent of children under five.
The UN agency in a statement on its website also noted that an estimated 2 million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), but only two out of every 10 children affected is currently reached with treatment. It added that seven per cent of women of childbearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition, and that the first 1,000 days of a child's life offer a unique window of opportunity for preventing undernutrition and its consequences.
However, to reverse the negative trend, the Chairman of Aliko Dangote Foundation and Africa’s wealthiest man, Aliko Dangote, said: “We recognise nutrition as a cross-cutting issue which affects other critical development goals, that is why nutrition has become our core focus. We want to reach one million malnourished children in Nigeria and we know that for every dollar invested in nutrition, the nation as a whole will reap huge economic dividends.”
“In addition, we shall reach households of children with SAM and their communities that contribute the most to the SAM burden with food security, cash-based interventions and livelihoods support, engendered infant and young child feeding, hygiene and care-seeking behaviours,” he further said.
Aliko Dangote Foundation is the private charitable foundation of Aliko Dangote, incorporated in 1994 with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments that improve health and wellbeing, promote quality education, and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.
Twenty-seven years later, the Foundation has become the largest private Foundation in sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor. The primary focus of ADF is child nutrition, with wrap-around interventions centered on health, education and empowerment, and disaster relief. The Foundation also supports stand-alone projects with the potential for significant social impact.
Under its Aliko Dangote Foundation Integrated Nutrition Programme (ADFIN), the Foundation in 2016, announced its intention to launch a community-based nutrition programme, various components of which have been implemented with some stakeholders. The intent has always been to use proven interventions linked to social and behaviour change, promotion of fortification of staple foods with essential micronutrients, community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) using ready to use therapeutic foods (RUTF) and nutritious foods.
To re-iterate our commitment, in 2017, the Chairman of the Foundation, Aliko Dangote announced the new flagship programme for the Foundation; the $100 million Aliko Dangote Foundation Integrated Nutrition programme at the 2017 UN Global Nutrition Summit.
“Nigeria’s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival and putting the brakes on economic development,” said Zouera Youssoufou, Managing Director and CEO of the Aliko Dangote Foundation. “By investing in nutrition, we aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower our citizens to reach their full potential.”
With the $100 million commitment, the Aliko Dangote Foundation has initiated moves to consolidate its ADFIN programme that promotes scalable and cost-effective nutrition interventions including food security, cash-based interventions and livelihoods support, engendered infant and young child feeding, hygiene and care-seeking behaviours”.
These activities will be complemented with infrastructures and commodities that are required by the interventions such as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, nutrition products, drugs and equipment in the PHC centre and in the communities.
According to UNICEF, the States in northern Nigeria are the most affected by the two forms of malnutrition – stunting and wasting. High rates of malnutrition pose significant public health and development challenges for the country, it added.
The Foundation, which was actively involved in Nigeria and Africa’s certification as polio-free in August 2020, works with state and national governments and many reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organisations and international agencies to advance its humanitarian agenda. Lessons learned from this experience shall be used to improve nutrition outcomes for national development.
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