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UNICEF Receives 3 Million Euros From ECHO to Fight Child Malnutrition in Northern Nigeria

ABUJA, 14 January 2011: About 54,000 severely malnourished children in seven drought-affected, northern Nigerian states will benefit from emergency aid funded by a 3-million Euro grant from the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) to UNICEF Nigeria. The funding will support governments to treat malnourished children in Kebbi, Sokoto, Katsina, Zamfara, Jigawa, Yobe and Borno. These states border Niger Republic and the Republic of Chad – both of which appealed last year for humanitarian food aid following severe food shortages caused by the ongoing Sahel drought and climate change. The money purchased 53,730 cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) used to treat children with severe malnutrition. One course of treatment consumes about one cartoon of RUTF over eight weeks. To date about 40,000 children have benefitted from the project – also known as Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM). It is a joint initiative of the Federal and State governments in collaboration with UNICEF; initially for 15 communities in Gombe, Kebbi and Sokoto, it has now been expanded to 145 communities in seven states. This expansion has been possible through the support of ECHO, the humanitarian aid agency of the European Union. CMAM field work is implemented directly by respective state governments in partnership with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-France, Save the Children UK, and Action Against Hunger (ACF)-US. Part of the ECHO funds also supported the second round of Rapid Nutrition Assessment surveys in December 2010 in eight Sahel States. UNICEF recognises food insecurity, poor child care practices, and poor health care services as the three main causes of malnutrition. Apart from the effects of Sahel drought in Northern Nigeria, other major challenges in the region include poor child care practices - particularly low exclusive breastfeeding rates - as well as inadequate quality and quantity of complementary foods.

 

 
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