Nigeria: Securing Greater Funding for Nutrition, Maternal Newborn and Child Healthcare Interventions in Nigeria

Amidst the worsening financial, social and healthcare challenges within the nation, youngsters are more and more being affected and their fundamental wants for survival are now not assured. Reports in 2020 confirmed at the least one in three youngsters didn’t develop effectively due to malnutrition, and at the least two in three aren’t fed the minimal weight loss plan they should develop, develop and be taught to their full potential, writes Onyebuchi Ezigbo

According to the findings of the United Nations, Nigeria has one of many highest maternal and baby deaths globally. About 20 per cent of worldwide maternal deaths happen in Nigeria with extra of those deaths occurring in rural areas. The report of National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS 2018) quoted by UNICEF stated maternal mortality within the nation is 556 per 100,000.

Most of those deaths happen both throughout being pregnant, at childbirth or inside two months postpartum. The report additionally stated that there are roughly 40 million youngsters underneath 5 years of age in Nigeria, of which one in eight don’t survive to their fifth birthday: resulting in a mortality fee of 132 per 1000 stay births.

Despite the financial progress Nigeria recorded during the last decade, poverty stays persistent with baby malnutrition changing into the order of the day in most components of the nation. The scenario has additionally include widespread inequity and regional disparities which has been additional compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN stated an estimated 40 per cent of Nigerians ( about 83 million individuals) stay beneath the poverty line (US$1.05 per day). In the identical vein, the report confirmed that the general poverty incidence in Nigeria stood at 64 per cent in 2016, with virtually two-thirds of that whole present in rural areas with the north-east of the nation exhibiting the very best degree (74 per cent).

The affect of this startling financial indices on well being and wellbeing of youngsters is gigantic. The identical report has proven that malnutrition is the underlying reason for many childhood deaths in Nigeria. According to the UN company, “By 2026, with no change in vitamin, greater than half the inhabitants of youngsters will die from stunting alone. Malnourished youngsters usually tend to endure and die from frequent childhood diseases akin to diarrhea and pneumonia and could also be extra prone to develop persistent illnesses akin to coronary heart illness in maturity.”

Experts say Anemia throughout being pregnant is related to maternal and neonatal deaths and is a serious reason for low start weight. They additionally stated infants with low start weight are 5 occasions extra prone to die throughout the first month of life than regular start weight infants.

Impact on Education

By 2026, it’s being projected that if there is no such thing as a change in stunting, youngsters will lose 33 million equal college years of studying from stunting alone.

Regarding it is affect on financial growth malnutrition weakens the affected particular person and on complete tends to impart negatively on his or her skill to develop and develop into helpful citizen. In order to deal with the scenario within the nation, the federal authorities is collaborating with the UNICEF and state governments to seek out methods of scaling up funding to advertise dietary well being of youngsters, particularly on this interval of worsening financial difficulties.


In this regard, a one-day excessive degree advocacy and accountability assembly was held not too long ago for state commissioners of Health, Budget and Economic Planning and Executive Secretaries of related businesses to mark the Maternal, Nutrition, Newborn and Child Health Week (MNCHW). A key goal of the occasion was to safe the dedication and monetary assist of commissioners to be used in selling dietary well being of youngsters within the nation.

The MNCHW in Nigeria was a week-long marketing campaign launched on the 53rd Assembly of the National Council for Health assembly in 2010 as a precedence and strategic motion to speed up the discount of kid mortality and enchancment of maternal well being. Vitamin A supplementation is a major indicator to find out efficiency of the MNCHW. Organisers stated MNCHW bridges the gaps in uptake of routine well being and vitamin providers and presents alternative to drive up protection of providers. It additionally an enormous position in total enchancment of vitamin and well being indices if achieved correctly and persistently.

The marketing campaign has been applied for about 10 years now, however many states nonetheless miss at the least one or each rounds yearly leaving many youngsters and ladies unprotected with life-saving well being and vitamin interventions. There can also be must align MNCHW dates to nationwide dates guaranteeing six-month interval between rounds of the marketing campaign yearly.

As a part of efforts to realize the aim, UNICEF is partnering with the federal authorities to sensitise commissioners for Health and Economic Planning and Executive Secretaries of State Primary Health Care Boards on the necessity for enhanced high quality and elevated protection of dietary well being interventions in all of the states in Nigeria. To this finish, the assembly served as a possibility to formally introduce and current the optimised MNCHW technique to the commissioners of Health and Economic Planning and Executive Secretaries.

Federal authorities additionally stated that it’s going to work with UNICEF to make sure that 31,299,942 youngsters between six to 59 months are supplied with vitamin A complement throughout the subsequent one 12 months. While declaring the occasion open, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Olusola Idowu stated the advocacy assembly was convened primarily to hunt methods enhancing budgetary allocations to efforts at enhancing vitamin and healthcare of youngsters as effectively to deal with issues of excessive maternal mortality fee within the nation. She expressed the hope that resolutions reached on the assembly will go an extended in the direction of reaching high quality and elevated protection of vitamin and maternal heath within the nation.

High Level Commitment

Speaking on the assembly, the UNICEF’s Deputy Representative, Rushnan Murtaza who was represented by Chief of Nutrition, Nenat Hedjeboj stated youngsters’s lives are extra threatened right this moment than earlier than. She federal authorities and UNICEF have demonstrated a excessive degree of dedication over time in tackling the issue. However she stated that “there’s a must scale high quality vitamin interventions, maintain, elevated allocation in addition to well timed launch of the funds, yearly”.

According to her, enhance of funding and dedication for MNCHW and Nutrition interventions is required to contribute to the prevention and remedy of malnutrition amongst susceptible ladies and kids underneath 5 years.

Hedjeboj stated: “This 12 months, we’re dedicated to reaching 31,299,942 youngsters six to 59 months with Vitamin A supplementation”. The UNICEF scribe who expressed fear on the rising variety of youngsters witnessing stunted progress stated near 17 million Nigerian youngsters are undernourished (stunted and or wasted), thus giving Nigeria the highest-burden of stunting in Africa and the second highest on the earth.

Hedjeboj added that Vitamin A supplementation reduces all causes of kid mortality by as much as 24 p.c; reduces deaths from diarrhea by 12 p.c and reduces the incidence of measles by 50 p.c. She added that Vitamin A can also be an enabler for the discount of stunting. Nigeria’s Vitamin A supplementation standing is unacceptably low (45 per cent).

“Unfortunately, Nigeria shouldn’t be on monitor to fulfill Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Targets on undernutrition. And since baby vitamin is core to the human capital growth of Nigeria, this presents an pressing disaster we have to tackle.”