Two million children in Nigeria are estimated to be suffering from severe acute malnutrition but only two out of every 10 children affected are currently reached with treatment.
This is the reason behind the push by health experts and the association of Nigeria health journalists to call for an inclusion of nutrition component
to the basic health care provision fund.
TVC News’ Kemi Balogun reports that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children in the world with a national prevalence rate of 32 percent of children under the age of five.
Malnutrition is a direct or underlying cause of 45 percent of all deaths of under five children.
Nigeria’s rates of severe acute malnutrition also known as severe wasting are among the highest in the world at around 1.9 million children every
year. Seven percent of women of child bearing age also suffer from acute malnutrition.
The basic health care provision fund is one percent of the federal government consolidated revenue and contributions from donor grants set
aside to fund the basic health needs of Nigerians.
It is a key component of the national health act which aims to extend primary health care to all nigerians by substantially increasing the level
of financial resources to Primary health care services.
50 percent of the fund will be used to provide a basic package of services in primary health care facilities through the national health insurance
scheme, 45 percent will be disbursed by the national primary health care development agency for essential drugs, maintenance of facilities,
equipment and transportation, and strengthening resources capacity and the last 5 percent will be used by the federal ministry of health to respond to
health emergencies and epidemics.
So, this call by Health experts and Journalists is simply to turn the spotlight on the need for the inclusion of child nutrition as a major component in the basic health care provision fund.
Stunting adds to an increased risk of death and poor cognitive development, all which contribute to economic losses estimated to account for as much as 11 percent of the gross domestic product.