The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund UNICEF Nutrition Head in Sokoto, Walton Beckley has explained that as at the time of this report, about 4,565 and 5,755 children with acute malnutrition had been admitted for treatment in Sokoto and Zamfara State of Nigeria amidst coronavirus pandemic.
He disclosed this on Wednesday as UNICEF in support with the European Union and in collaboration with the State Primary Health Care Development Agencies of Sokoto and Zamfara, set up Severe Acute Malnutrition treatment sites in 20 wards while about 3,963 and 5,057 children had been successfully treated in Sokoto and Zamfara States respectively.
He said, “about 3,716 and 4,706 in Sokoto and Zamfara States received iron and folic acid supplements,” he said. “In Sokoto, about 5,688 pregnant women and caregivers of children less than two years have received advice on how to take care of their children and feed them to prevent malnutrition. And in Zamfara State, about 8, 219 women had received same advice.” He also said many women and children as a result of attacks on villages by bandits in Sokoto and Zamfara States has led to a situation of severe hunger and malnutrition.
“The impact of the COVID-19 restrictions and border closure appear to have worsened the situation, increasing the number of malnourished children. “The COVID–19 pandemic has impacted alot. We are now seeing an increase in the number of malnourished children coming for treatment. This is likely due to the fact that some families have lost their livelihoods and now find it difficult to provide for their families.
“The lockdown and restriction of movement has negatively affected many businesses. People have been made unemployed or without access to their normal livelihoods. Even after this short time, the number of acutely malnourished children are already increasing. It is expected that this trend will continue and even worsen as the pandemic continues,” he said.