More than 25m Nigerians confronting acute malnutrition says USAID

The Director of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission, Anne Patterson, has said that Nigeria ranks second highest in the global malnutrition rate.

According to her, over 25 million Nigerians are suffering from acute malnutrition, which she described as alarming.

Disclosing this at the Trade Fair for Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Foods and Other Life-Saving Nutrition Commodities in Abuja, Patterson said the prevalence of severe acute malnutrition among Nigerian children grew from 7 percent to 12 percent in the last five years, referencing a recent Food Consumption and Micronutrient Survey in 2021.

“This means Nigeria is the second most prevalent malnutrition country,” adding that in the last 12 months, only 2.8 percent of the affected children were treated with ready-to-use therapeutic foods, also known as RUTF.

She decried the development, describing it as alarming.

She, however, said there is local procurement of RUTF available with” producers like Ariel Foods, Emzor- Foods, DABS, and Nutri-K” stating that the firms have shown that Nigeria can produce the commodities according to international standards.

Patterson called on the Nigerian government to ensure that RUFT and other life-saving, nutritious commodities are readily available and sustainable for the people.

“In partnership with the people of Nigeria, their government, and various stakeholders, we recognize that reducing malnutrition is a critical component of improving health, education, and economic development,” she said.

Noting that the United States Government is eager to partner with the private sector to address malnutrition, she pointed out that last week, the agency embarked on a “partnership with Emzor Food and Beverages to build a medical-grade groundnut paste processing facility.”

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Budget, and Planning, Nebeolisa Anako, said malnutrition is a huge burden that needs joint efforts to address.

Also, represented at the event was the National Convenor, UN Food Systems Transformation Pathways for Nigeria, Faniran Sanjo, who opined that governments at all levels will seek means to prioritise the production of RUTF.

Techrectory and Agency Report

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