(thetidenews)- - Nigeria ranks amongst the world’s top ten countries with the largest number of underweight children with an estimated six million under-five who are underweight if the new statistics released by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is anything to go by.
To combat malnutrition, the federal government has adopted seven new strategies. The National Planning Commission through the National Committee on Food and Nutrition (NCFN) in collaboration with UNICEF has identified improving food security through programmes and projects in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors to increase household income, especially in the poorer cadre of the population.
NCFN, the main basis for the co-ordination and harmonisation of all food and nutrition related policies and programme in the country is to foster care-givers capacity base by promoting optimal infant feeding practices and reducing the herculean task on women to create more time for childcare, through the development of labour saving technologies. The committee aims to improve health services to provide essential maternal and child health care.
Other strategies in this wise are: micronutrient deficiency and anemia via a strategy including vitamin and mineral supplementation, food fortification and dietary diversification; combating iodine deficiency disorder through salt iodisation programme; plus institutionalising general consumer protection measures to ensure that food quality and consumer health are adequately safeguarded, as contained in the UNICEF Nigeria latest information sheet on nutrition made available to the media by the communication officer, Christine Jaulmes.
UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mr Ayalew Abai, at a recent workshop, said this of Nigeria: Happily several African countries are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for underweight – Benin, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia and Mauritania. Nigeria is not in this group yet and this has important implications for the sub-region. Nigeria is by far the most populous country in the region and its proportion of underweight children dominates the regional statistics.
The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, urges the federal government to inject the same effort she has inserted in achieving and sustaining universal salt iodation in other nutrition interventions, notably, exclusive breast feeding and vitamin A supplementation.
The report highlights that women who are undernourished have lower resistance to infection and are more liable to die from common childhood ailment like malaria, diarrhea diseases or respiratory infections. It is also estimated that malnutrition contributes to over 50% to mortality amid children aged five years and below.
Jaulmes who backs the national nutrition response on sustainable elimination of vitamin A disorder as well as reduction of iron deficiency anemia and zinc deficiency, also approves of the improvement of early child care practices at households level and in early child care centres.
The United Nations has warned of the accelerating collapse of basic services in Yemen due to the aggression, siege and fighting which was described as “devastating.”
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen Johannes van der Klaauw said in a press conference in Cairo that the current estimations indicate that more than 14 million people in Yemen cannot get sufficient health care.
He noted that 20 governorates, out of 22 governorates, are affected and that about 2.3 million people were forced to leave their homes which created a deteriorating and desperate humanitarian situation over the past seven months, stressing the importance of promptly finding out a political solution before it is over.
The UN official said that 3 million children and women are in need for medication because of malnutrition while 1.8 million children are deprived of schooling since March.
Klaauw pointed out the increasing deterioration of the basic services as a direct result of the dispute and the lack of necessary supplies to pay salaries or to cover maintenance costs.
Oxfam welcomed on Friday the changing of the British policy on exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia which is used in its aggression against Yemen.
The Oxfam emphasized citizens are in the fire line not only because of weapons, but also of the siege imposed on Yemen which affected its main services and economy.
Josephine Hatton, director of the Middle East program at Oxfam, said in a statement the organization welcomed the alteration of the British attitude towards the denial of Saudi Arabia in targeting citizens in its airstrikes against Yemen, and insisting to conduct serious investigations in that regard.
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond called on Thursday to carry out a serious investigation on the Saudi air raids against Yemen.
In an interview with the BBC, Hammond said the denial of Saudi in targeting citizens by its airstrikes against Yemen since March is not enough, serious investigations must been conducted in that regard.
A suicide bomber blew himself up on Tuesday in front of the Faculty of Agriculture in Ibb University, a security source said.
"The explosion did not cause any casualties," the source said, noting that the suicide bomber detonated himself before he was arrested by the security men, who noticed he was wearing an explosive belt.
The Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) organization said on Monday that thousands of Yemeni people still incapable to receive medical care because of the absence of transportation means and closing the health facilities.
In its statement, the MSF said many of health facilities have totally or partly been destroyed as a result of the airstrikes and war in the country.
MOSCOW– Russia affirmed on Saturday its support to the exerted efforts to hold a new talks' round on the Yemeni crisis and with the participation of the various sides.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation said, in its statement issued Saturday, it is important to do all the possible efforts in order to end violence in Yemen and reach peace all over the country via implementing dialogue gathering all the Yemeni political powers.