The Head of Health, Save the Children Nigeria, Dr Abimbola Williams has disclosed that more than half of over 170 million population in Nigeria is currently humiliated by poverty adding that 90 per cent of the poorest people resides in the North.
She stated this in Abuja on Sunday at the unveiling of “Every last Child’ campaign that would focus on reaching excluded children like refugees, the girl child, children living with disabilities, children in hard to reach areas and street children by Year 2030.
The specialist regretted that despite improvements in child nutrition that acute malnutrition is increasing in the North East due to insurgency adding that since children are the future that national development should be child-centered.
She said that the foundation currently implements the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) project that is funded by DFID in collaboration with partners, civil society and federal government in a bid to tackle the problem of malnutrition in Nigeria.
Williams called on federal government to accelerate release of the One Per Cent Basic Health Care Fund as enshrined in the National Health Act stressing that they should initiate policies, plans and strategies for effective implementation of the Act.
According to her, “Programmes at local level are needed to promote change in attitudes and practices including programmes that offer life skills, literacy, health information and social support because early marriage comes with early motherhood and dangerous child bearing.
She enjoined decision makers at the households, local and national levels to eliminate barriers that prevent the poorest children from accessing lifesaving services even as she pleaded with the federal government to protect the rights of children with disabilities.
On her part, the Senior Nutrition Adviser, Mrs Adaeze Oramalu- Ogwuche said since nutrition interventions in Nigeria are donor-driven that the resources are limited to certain areas even as she commended the federal government for committing resources to address malnutrition.
“Currently, federal government is implementing the community management of acute malnutrition in 11 states in Northern Nigeria and we have the national policy on food and nutrition that have just been passed.
She was optimistic that if the 36 states government commit resources into management of nutrition that the indices would reduce drastically.