The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has disclosed that more than 14 million Nigerian children are chronically malnourished while 2.7 million of them are also acutely malnourished.
Acting UNICEF Nigeria representative, said Renu Wadhwa, disclosed this in a press statement issued over the weekend to celebrate over 21,439 new babies born in Nigeria on new year day.
According to him, cross-sectoral solutions to strengthen the health, food, water, sanitation and social protection systems can help reverse these high numbers and keep children alive.
Wadhwa further stated, “As much as 43 per cent of Nigerian children do not receive all their recommended vaccinations at the right time – a critical step towards ensuring survival and good health.
“Birth registration of Nigerian children under one year is still only 4.0 per cent and 54 per cent for children under 5 years. Achieving universal birth registration is an important platform for allowing children to access health care and other critical services throughout their lives.In addition, one in three Nigerian children do not complete primary school. Education is known to improve health and life outcomes throughout a child’s life.
Only 1 in every 8 babies born will make it to their fifth birthday. Those who do survive will face other challenges as young Nigerians – especially girls. For example, an estimated one in every four Nigerian girls will experience sexual violence, if nothing is done to reverse the trend and stop violence against women and girls.
“We can make Nigeria a better place for children to survive and thrive. This new year offers a new slate with opportunities to reimagine, respond, recover and indeed build a more equitable and safer Nigeria for children, especially the girl child,”
“As we navigate a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the economic and other challenges it may bring, UNICEF reaffirms its commitment to working together with the Nigerian government and people to promote and protect the rights and welfare of Nigerian children – to ensure that from this day of their birth onwards, they have a future they can look forward to.”