AfDB approves US $1m grant to fight malnutrition in Borno

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Executive Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have approved a US $1 million grant as emergency assistance to support the fight against malnutrition in Borno State.

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A statement from the AfDB said the Nigerian Minister of Health had declared a nutrition emergency in Borno State.

In addition to that, the West and Central Africa Regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group called on the entire international community to respond in order to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

The AfDB intervention will strengthen the on-going Government and partners (UNICEF, WFP, OCHA, etc.) support in the North East region of the country. The Bank will focus on Borno State where the situation is dire, to rationalize funds and be more efficient.

This AfDB said; “will contribute to reducing malnutrition rate among the most vulnerable population, mainly children under five years and women of childbearing age.”

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The support aims to contribute to mortality reduction due to Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of children under five years of age in Borno State by 46% and to the reduction of infant mortality by 20%.

The specific objectives of the project are to: (i) treat 11,468 children in Borno state with Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), (ii) provide 60,000 children 6-23 months in the affected areas with multiple micronutrient powder and (iii) Strengthen sector coordination and monitoring at state level to provide effective coordination of nutrition response.

To achieve high coverage and quality service delivery of the program, community mobilization, capacity building, coordination and partnership (with International Non-governmental Organizations) and strengthening of information management systems will be employed. In addition, monitoring and introduction of surveillance systems using quarterly surveys and mobile technology for real-time reporting and data collection will be introduced.

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“The nutrition sector in Nigeria estimates a burden of 296,601 cases of SAM in Borno state in 2017. If these children are left untreated, it is envisaged that an estimated 59,320 would die. This intervention will augment efforts at attaining the target to reach 80% of the estimated SAM cases in the region by 2017” AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, told the Board.

Nigeria is currently in economic recession which has stretched the Government’s capacity to address vulnerability. Over 2.5 million children under five years are severely malnourished across the country and are 9 times more likely to die than their counterparts. In the midst of these challenges, the humanitarian situation in the North East of Nigeria continues to deteriorate, with an estimated 7 million people in need humanitarian assistance, while about 2.2 million people are internally displaced.

The conflict in the region continues to restrict farming and other income earning activities due to insecurity. Children and residents in the rural parts are most affected and IDPs continue to be negatively impacted by the food and nutrition deficiencies.

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According to the August 2016 “Cadre Harmonisé analysis” there are 4.4 million food insecure people in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States, 3.2 million of them in the Borno state. The conflict has affected the food and health supply systems and left the health sector with very limited health workers available to provide services.

This intervention is aligned with one of the operational priorities of the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, 2013-2022, namely governance and accountability, which is reiterated in two of the High-5s: Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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