The destructive wave of malnutrition in Niger needs to be halted.
Malnutrition is a major threat to children’s health and development in Niger. According to 2018 data, 15.0 per cent of children are acutely malnourished in Niger (unchanged since 2006).
Stunting, which has consequences for a child’s survival and cognitive development as well as economic development of the country, affects 47.8 per cent of children, similar to the situation in 2006. Micronutrient deficiencies are rampant, and more than 70 per cent of children under 5 are anemic.
As Niger’s population continues to grow, the burden of malnutrition will persist, unless significant efforts are put on prevention of malnutrition that address all the multisectoral causes. The number of stunted children is expected to increase by 44 per cent by 2025 owing to population growth. Nutrition services have been integrated at scale in health facilities but the lack of predictable funding to ensure medical and nutrition supplies over the long-term remains a major concern.
UNICEF supports the Government to improve the availability and use of quality high-impact nutrition interventions in the first 1,000 days of life, with a focus on preventing stunting and wasting through development of effective, replicable, sustainable and integrated models of service delivery at facility and community levels.
We support the Government to implement the national nutrition security policy adopted in November 2018 through multisectoral partnerships, advocacy for increased government resource allocations and strengthened national, regional and district capacities for planning, integration and service delivery.
UNICEF will facilitate a shift to systems strengthening to ensure government ownership and management of nutrition services, including the sustainability of Severe Acute Malnutrition treatment via government self-financing and increased contributions from development partners and a strengthened supply chain for essential medical and nutrition commodities.
We will mobilize resources and support the Government to initiate and scale up
nutrition services for adolescents as per the national adolescent health and nutrition strategy.
We support context-specific community and political-level dialogue and social mobilization to address negative social norms and create demand, working closely with United Nations agencies, the “Nigeriens Nourish Nigeriens” initiative, the nutrition working group, national, regional, district and municipality-level authorities and technical groups, civil society and grass-roots associations, the private sector and religious and traditional leaders and healers.