Poverty worsening malnutrition in Cross River – State Nutritionist

The Cross River State Nutrition Officer (SNO), Dr Winifred Ogar, says
high-level multi-dimensional poverty is aggravating malnutrition in the state.

, which was at 75.6 per cent was enhancing severe malnutrition.

Ogar disclosed this in Calabar on Thursday during a One Day Media Round Table on Increased Investment in Nutrition to Scale-up Quality
Nutrition Services, organised by Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) with support from UNICEF.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that CS-SUNN is a Non-Government Organisation (NGO) and non profit alliance
with a shared vision to transform Nigeria into a country where citizens have food and are nutrition secured.

The nutritionist, therefore, said ignorance is a major challenge, as many mothers believed that
noodles and custard are good meals for children when in reality such foods are nutritionally not balanced.

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According to her, the state commenced a Maternal and Child Health Week on Nov. 29 with a mandate for children between
the ages of zero and five years and discovered 50 children suffering from different levels of malnutrition.

She added that “this week in the ongoing intervention in the state, we discovered 50 children with severe acute and moderate acute malnutrition.

“Malnutrition officers are already in the field with Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for these children; we are also looking forward
to creating food demonstration centres.

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“This is because after distributing the RUTF, there is need to teach women how to source for nutritious foods around them.”

Mrs Nkem Ubana, the state’s Coordinator of CS-SUNN, said “malnutrition is a formidable cause of death, with stunting in particular, linked
to adverse outcomes such as poor brain and cognitive development.”

She said that the National Demographic and Health Survey 2018 (NDHS 2018) reveals that 23 per cent of children under-five years
in Cross River were stunted, 11 per cent underweight, and five per cent were wasted.

She explained that in spite of robust policies to tackle the menace, the challenge remained poorly funded.

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The coordinator added that approved budget for Food and Nutrition Interventions had not been released in Cross River in the last eight years.

She said that in response to the challenges, CS-SUNN was implementing the Increased Investment in Nutrition to Scale-Up Quality Nutrition Services
in Cross River, in collaboration with UNICEF to ensure access to food and nutrition security.On his part, Mr Otu-Otu Ita, the Special Adviser to Gov. Bassey Otu of Cross River, said the state government had provided
sufficiently for nutrition related activities in the proposed budget of 2024.

He said that while the state was expecting some foreign assistance, the governor had directed the State Planning Commission to work
on the Food System Transformation Pathway to boost nutrition.

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