310 children die of acute malnutrition in Gombe health centres since 2016 – Official

At least 310 children have died of acute malnutrition since 2016 at health centres in Gombe State, an official said.

The state Nutrition Officer, Suleiman Mamman, disclosed this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES in Gombe on Tuesday.

He said 36,932 malnourished children have been admitted at the 18 Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres in the state within the period.

The centres are situated in Gombe, Dukku, Nafada and Kaltungo local government areas of the state.

According to Mr Mamman, 55 of the deaths were recorded between January and August this year, as latest records revealed.

He said 10,171 malnourished children were admitted at the centres within the period this year, out of which 6,906 were attended to and discharged.

However, he said 385 children were withdrawn by their parents before completing treatment, while 81 did not recover due to complications including being HIV/AIDS positive.

Among those admitted at the centres this year, 2664 are still receiving treatment, he disclosed.

In 2016, Mr Mamman said, 12,618 were admitted, 11,531 of them cured, 105 died, 833 defaulted (withdrawn before completion of treatment) and 149 did not recover.

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In 2017, the nutrition officer said, 14,143 children were admitted to the CMAM centres, from among which 150 deaths were recorded.

He said 13,069 were cured and discharged, 710 defaulted and 214 did not recover.

He said the children who did not recover from the condition were so labelled after being treated for eight months but showed no improvement.

Mr Mamman said most of the children in this category were HIV/Aids positive and were thus referred to various hospitals across he state for further treatment.

According to the officer, Nigeria is one of the 20 countries responsible for 80 per cent of global child malnutrition, adding that approximately 2.5 million under five children are affected by malnutrition in the world.

“This (under-five children malnutrition) accounts for one tenth of the global total. Nearly a thousand Nigerian child die of malnutrition-related causes every day, or 361,000 each year,” he said.

Mr Mamman added that “maternal under-nutrition results in low birth weight, which in turn contributes to high infant mortality and is also a significant factor in the high incidence of maternal mortality in the country.”

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“Undernourished children have lower resistance to infection and are more likely to die from common childhood illnesses. 45 percent of all under five deaths are attributable to under nutrition.”

According to the officer, malnutrition often hinders socio-economic development of nations and increases poverty.

Gombe State is listed among 12 states in Nigeria to benefit from an intervention project being funded by international donors for preventive and treatment aspects of malnutrition.

The five-year Accelerated Nutrition Result Project, for which $10 million has been set aside, will be run through each state’s health ministry.

But due to its failure to pay counterpart funds to match the donor interventions, a condition for accessing fund under the project, Gombe State may lose the opportunity of implementing the project.

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