UNICEF also said 1,115 children have died from acute malnutrition in Borno between January and December 2019.
UNICEF Nutrition Sector Coordinator, Mr Simon Karanja, disclosed this at the inauguration of the Borno Steering Committee on Food and Nutrition in Maiduguri.
Karanja said “in the year under review, 138,236 children were treated in various Community for Management of Acute Malnutrition centres in the state while 6,399 defaulted treatment”.
He also said 1,877 children did not recover or relapse.
He said at least three cases of death were recorded every day in the state, NAN reports.
The official attributed the rising cases of malnutrition to include poor dietary consumption trends, high prevalence of diseases such as diarrhea, measles, and food insecurity.
Other factors, he said, included poor funding of prevention interventions, duplication, and gaps in services, critical medicine shortages for such persons.
“In 2020, the programme targeted 533,000 children in need of treatment.
“Also, an estimated 138,000 are expected to receive treatment for Severe Acute Malnutrition while 182 will receive treatment for Moderate Acute Malnutrition,” he said.
Also speaking, the WASH Manager for UNICEF, Mr Kabuka Banda, attributed rising cases of malnutrition especially in the IDPs camps to the lack of “adequate utilisation of the environment”.
Banda said children only got the best type of food when they were living in a healthy and conducive environment and not in a hazardous settlement.
“The practice of open defecation poses a big threat and has remained a big contributor to malnutrition, especially in the IDPs camps, which can alter the children’s growth and affect their performance.
“It is therefore important to work with the WASH sector to highlight some of these concerns to enable the children to get the best types of foods in their environment,” he said.
Also speaking, UNICEF Nutritional Manager, Sanjey Kumar-Das, described some of the common symptoms of malnutrition to include fatigue, dizziness, and weight loss.
Kumar- Das said untreated malnutrition could cause physical or mental disability to a child’s growth.
“Studies show that around 16 per cent gross domestic loss due to undernutrition and malnourished children are 12 times more likely to die compared to their normal peers,” he said.
In his remarks, Geoffrey Ijumba, UNICEF’s Chief Field Officer, explained that the mandate of the committee included providing necessary technical and professional assistance and support to the state on food and nutrition planning and programme implementation.
“Food security and nutrition situation remain fragile across North-East, particularly given the high level of aid dependency and the lack of access to land or other livelihood opportunities,” Ijumba said.
Commissioner of Finance, Budget, and Planning, Alhaji Adamu Lawan, said the state government had released N1 billion to the Bank Of Industry for programmes to mitigate malnutrition.
Lawan, who is also the Chairman, Steering Committee on Food Nutrition, said the state government also earmarked N5billion in the 2020 budget as fund backing for various programmes and interventions in the state.
He said that lack of accountability, and proper coordination, as well as political will, would have affected the implementation of various programs in the state.