The Civil Society-Scale Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has declared that Oyo state has the highest number of malnourished children in the South West geo-political zone of Nigeria.
The group stated that the state has malnourished children under five-years-old with a mortality rate of 73 deaths per 1000 live births, and an infant mortality rate of 59 per 1000 live births.
CS-SUNN made these disclosures on Tuesday during an advocacy meeting christened, an advocacy brief on nutrition situation in Oyo State which was attended by stakeholders such as nutritionists, community mobilizers, government officials among others.
CS-SUNN Project Coordinator, Ambrose Evhoesor, maintained that nutrition in the state has over the years been neglected, with 34.5 percent of children under five-years-old being stunted, 3.8 percent wasted and 19.9 percent underweight according to a 2018 NDHS research, which also finds that only 49.5 percent of children less than six-months-old are exclusively breastfed.
Evhoesor noted that adequate nutrition is essential to children’s growth and development. According to him, the first 1000 days of a child’s life (the period from conception to age 2) is especially important for optimal physical, mental and cognitive growth, health and development.
“Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when people consistently do not consume or absorb the right amounts and types of food and essential nutrients. One of the main indicators of childhood malnutrition is stunting, when children are too short for their age. Stunted children have poor cognitive and brain development which prevents them from reaching their full potentials in life in an increasingly competitive world.
“Malnutrition is caused by several factors, including lack of food, improper feeding and caring practices, economic and political structures, low status and lack of education among women, and so on.
“Therefore, a multi-sectoral approach is required for a reduction and eventual eradication of the scourge. As a matter of urgency, there has to be multifaceted, multi-stakeholder and multilevel intervention at scale in order to produce substantial outcomes in the short to medium term.”
CS-SUNN Chairman in Oyo state, Adio Olusegun, remarked that state government investments in nutrition have been very poor between 2015 and 2018. According to him, most times, despite budgetary allocation, little or no funds are released.
Olusegun urged Oyo state government under the leadership of Mr. Seyi Makinde, to as a matter of urgency release the budget meant for nutrition in the state. He explained that if prompt action is not taken on the issue of nutrition, it can lead to malnutrition which could lead to inter generational problem for the state.
Adio pleaded with the present government in Oyo State to stand up to the situation in order to positively salvage the nutrition crisis in the state in order to have a healthy society. He advised the state government to increase investment in nutrition specifically. He seek government’s interventions in order to reduce the alarming statistics of infant and under five mortality in the state.
“It has been observed that even when government expands the size of the state budget, the budget for nutrition specific interventions do not follow the same trajectory.
“When aggregate expenditure is cut, the budgetary allocation for key nutrition specific interventions is slashed more in relative terms. The Oyo State Government is paying little attention to nutrition, which is alarming by all measurable indications,” Adio explained.
“Given that Oyo has a large population of malnourished women and children under-five in Nigeria, with an infant mortality rate of 59 per 1000 live birth and an under-five mortality rate of 73 deaths per 1,000 live births, according to 2016 MICS findings, it is essential that the Oyo State Government increases investment in nutrition specific and sensitive interventions.”