The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is set to empower over 300,000 mothers and caregivers as part of its humanitarian intervention focusing on providing integrated food, nutrition sanitation, and protection services in Nigeria’s north-east region.

A statement by UNICEF Communication specialists through its Representative in Nigeria, Cristian Munduate on 28 March 2023 reviewed that the intervention will enhance dietary practices, home-based malnutrition screening skills, provision of high-impact lifesaving nutrition interventions (such as early identification and referral of acute malnutrition cases for treatment), and micronutrients supplementation to prevent infections among children.

According to her, the interventions were Funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) of the UK Government, the Multisectoral Integrated Nutrition Action (MINA) are projects that are focusing on improving the survival of children affected by conflict, while being implemented by UNICEF and other partners in 24 Local Government Areas of Borno and Yobe states till March 2025.

“With approximately 1 in 4 children aged 12-23 months not vaccinated, the north-east region has one of the highest numbers of unvaccinated children in Nigeria, according to the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey and National Immunization Coverage Survey (MICS-NICS 2021).

“Data from the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene: National Outcome Routine Mapping (WASH NORM 2021) shows that four percent of the population in Borno and two percent in Yobe have access to safely managed drinking water. Up to 1.1 million people across the region still practice open defecation, a risk factor for malnutrition and stunting in children.

“The project leverages a bouquet of essential services and community structures to provide integrated essential services for children, including birth registration and immunization services, nutrition counseling, cash transfer support, the establishment of vegetable gardens, market-based sanitation, and hygiene interventions, mothers’ groups, nutrition mobilizers, and WASH Committees.

“Critically, the highly successful mother-led Mid-Upper Arm Circumference program is being expanded while roving midwives will be deployed to hard-to-reach areas to improve the nutrition status and overall well-being of the most disadvantaged children.

“The first 1000 days of life of a child is an unmatched window of opportunity. UNICEF is grateful for the support of the FCDO to invest early in the lives of some of the most vulnerable children in the world.

“It is heartwarming that through the capacity building and empowerment approach of this project, thousands of children will benefit from this intervention in the long term.” The statement ended.

 

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