Expert warns malnutrition may kill 700 Nigerian children daily

Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria could lose 700 children and 18 mothers a day from anaemia and lack of protein-energy in the next eight years unless drastic measures are taken to stem malnutrition in the country, nutrition expert, Isaac Akinyele, has warned.
   Akinyele, a professor of human nutrition at the University of Ibadan, south-western Nigeria, gave the warning during the presentation of his research findings at a conference on nutrition in Lagos Friday.
   He said protein-energy malnutrition would be the underlying cause of about 2.
5 million child deaths between now and 2010, and that 64,000 mothers could die of anaemia during the period.
   Malnutrition, driven by poverty and ignorance, remains a major barrier to development in Nigeria, manifesting in inadequate energy and protein, as well as Vitamin A, iron and iodine deficiencies, poor infant feeding and nutrition-related non-communicable diseases.
   The research findings reveal the consequences of malnutrition on survival, intellectual development and productivity, education and agriculture.
   "Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) rates in children are higher than 16 percent in some regions in Nigeria.
If no effective action is taken to prevent and control VAD, over 300,000 Nigerian children will die between now and 2010.
   "Anaemia affects 25 percent of Nigerian women of reproductive age.
As many as 61 percent of women are affected in some region of the country," Akinyele said.
He said only 17 percent of infants under-six months are exclusively breast-fed in Nigeria and the study shows that 21 percent of infant deaths are related to poor breast-feeding practices in the country.
   "This means that if no action is taken to protect, promote and support breast-feeding, over one million Nigerian infants will die between now and the year 2010," Akinyele added.
   He explained that sustained investment in nutrition would bring enormous benefits for the health of the population, child education and the economy.

29 novembre 2002 19:16:00

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