Jigawa Lawmakers Disagree Over Deduction Of N5m To Fight Hunger

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Lawmakers in Jigawa State have disagreed over the deduction of five million naira from their Constituency Project Fund to support children suffering from malnutrition.

The lawmakers entered into a heated debate on Friday when the Executive Secretary of the Primary Health Care Management Board, Dr Kabir Ibrahim, was presenting a communique at the end of a two-day workshop organized by UNICEF, with the theme: The Role of Lawmakers in the Implementation of Jigawa State Nutrition Agenda.

The lawmaker representing Kanya Constituency, Mr Usman Haladu, first kicked against the idea when it was read by the Executive Secretary, saying that more deliberations are needed in order for the matter to be concluded.

Another lawmaker, Mr Abubakar Muhammad, representing Hadejia Constituency also argued that there are some modalities to be considered before it can be presented in the communique.

At the end of day, the statement was highlighted in yellow, to show that the issue would later be finalised.

Jigawa is one of the states in the country with the highest cases of children suffering from malnutrition with 54 per cent of the children in the state reported to be having stunted growth.

Malnutrition Rate Has Dropped To 23.6% Among Child IDPs, Says Benue Govt.

UNICEF Launches $3.3bn Emergency Assistance Fund For IDP Children
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The Benue State Government has said that the rate of malnutrition among children in Internally Displaced Camps in the state has drastically reduced.

The Secretary to the State Government, Professor Anthony Ijoho and the Principal Special Assistant on Nutrition and Food Security, Dorcas Ukpe, said this at the flag off of the ‘one egg, one man’ campaign at the Gbajimba IDP camp on Thursday.

File Photo: Benue State Internally Displaced Persons’ Camps

According to them, the campaign which was initiated to combat malnutrition and stunted growth among Internally Displaced Children, has so far yielded great results, with statistics showing that malnutrition has dropped from 39.8% to 23.6% since the commencement of the programme.

Read Also: Children’s Day: Saraki Visits Benue IDP Camp

At the Gbajimba camp, the government presented various food items, including bags of rice, milk, and over 500 crates of eggs.

Professor Anthony Ijoho, who presented the items, also called on well-meaning Nigerians to extend a hand of help to the over 180,000 IDPs, out of which, 80, 000 are children.

Dozens Of Toddlers Die From Malnutrition, Measles In Papua

This picture taken on October 11, 2016 shows a group of Papuan children at their village home in Asmat, in a regency in Indonesia’s easternmost province Papua. Dozens of toddlers in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province have died from malnutrition and measles over the past few months, a military spokesman said on January 16, 2018, PHOTO:
Yamin MUHAMMAD / AFP

Dozens of toddlers in Indonesia’s easternmost Papua province have died from malnutrition and measles over the past few months, a military spokesman said Tuesday, underscoring a lack of accessible medical care in the remote region.

The high number of deaths comes after President Joko Widodo vowed in 2014 to beef up infrastructure on the island that is shared with Papua New Guinea.

At least 59 toddlers have died from a combination of measles and malnutrition in the remote Asmat region, which has a severe shortage of doctors, said Papua military spokesman Muhammad Aidi.

“We received reports from the local health officials about” these deaths, he told AFP.

“We don’t know for sure yet whether the malnutrition was caused by lack of food or by the parent’s lack of knowledge regarding healthy food.”

In response, the military has deployed medical teams and support staff to supply villagers with medicine, vaccines, medical equipment and nutritious food, Aidi added.

About 129,000 people live in Asmat, a swampy region cris-crossed by rivers that can only be accessed by a flight from Papua’s capital Jayapura followed by a helicopter and boat ride.

“The region is disconnected from other parts of Papua because of a lack of infrastructure,” Aidi said.

Indonesia annexed resource-rich Papua in the 1960s, but it remains poor with a low-level separatist insurgency carrying on for decades.

AFP

Rohingya Children Face Death By Malnutrition – Report

Rohingya Children Face Death By Malnutrition – Report
This photo taken on November 6, 2017 shows young Rohingya refugees waiting to be seen by a doctor at the Balukhali refugee camp in Bangladesh’s Ukhia district. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

 

Tiny Mohammad Sohail cries uncontrollably as he waits to see a doctor — one of the thousands of Rohingya children at risk of an agonising death from malnutrition even after reaching the safety of refugee camps in Bangladesh. 

His father was killed in the crackdown on Muslims in Buddhist-dominated Myanmar’s Rakhine state, forcing his mother Hasana Begum to flee with Mohammad and his brother — joining some 610,000 other Rohingya who have fled since August.

The family barely ate on their seven-day trek across hills and through jungles to the Bangladesh border where they arrived two weeks ago, and it has taken its toll. Aged just 21 months, Mohammad’s ribs nearly poke through his skin. His hands are just skin and bone.

“We walked for days through continuous rain, cold and heat. Both my sons suffered from fever and diarrhoea and have since lost appetite,” Begum told AFP.

There are at least 50 other malnourished children like him at the Balukhali camp medical unit.

“The condition of many of these children is very critical. Most of their parents don’t even understand the extent of the problem,” said paramedic Shumi Akhter.

Medical teams are distributing special high-nutrition baby food packs so Rohingya infants can build some muscle. But it is a desperate battle for all.

The UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, estimates that 25,000 children in the overcrowded Rohingya camps are suffering from severe malnutrition that could easily become a major killer.

“The Rohingya children in the camp — who have survived horrors in Rakhine state and a dangerous journey here — are already caught up in a catastrophe,” said Edouard Beigbeder, the country head of UNICEF.

“Those with severe malnutrition are now at risk of dying from an entirely preventable and treatable cause. These children need help right now,” Beigbeder said.

More than half of the huge influx into the refugee camps are children. Some have died there, but the UN said it had no information on whether malnutrition was a cause.

– Selling rations –

For widows like Begum who have no extended family, getting food is a new battle as ration queues last between six and eight hours.

“I can’t take them to collect the relief as I cannot carry my sons and the heavy sack,” the 23-year-old said.

She cannot leave them in the tarpaulin shanty that has become their home either as there is no one to look after Mohammad and three-year-old Nur Alam.

“Every neighbour is busy with their own problems. Nobody has spare time to babysit,” she said.

“But I get panicky there until I get back home because these boys are everything I have left,” she said.

A visit to shanties at Balukhali showed that most refugee families survive on a diet of rice and lentils, with occasional vegetables and dried fish.

“Such a diet is not sufficient for toddlers or breastfeeding mothers. In this camp, the number of malnourished babies is already over the emergency margin line,” aid worker Fazle Rabbi told AFP.

Charity workers said the situation was exacerbated by refugees selling food to local Bangladeshis to raise cash for household goods and other essentials.

“Everyday we buy a lot of food from the refugees. We pay them cash in exchange for rice, lentil, sugar, salt, cooking oil, milk powder and baby food,” a Bangladeshi wholesaler in the nearby town of Ukhiya said.

Refugees who admitted selling food said they needed cash to buy firewood, clothing, and other necessities.

The Rohingyas are not allowed to seek work in Bangladesh.

Refugee Karim Majhi said: “We don’t have any choice but to sell food.”

AFP

Threat Of Malnutrition Still High In Somalia – UN

Somalia Election: Mohamed Abdullahi Emerges As PresidentHunger in Somalia has doubled the number of children admitted at nutritional centres supported by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) even with the onset of the rainy season.

In Baidoa town, this nutritional centre is one of few facilities where malnourished children below five years of age can access treatment in south and central Somalia.

Baidoa hospital which hosts the nutritional clinic has recorded an increase in patients, which has stretched the hospital’s capacity far beyond its 150-bed limit.
Tents have been put up to accommodate more patients.

The centre has now admitted 230 children compared to the 100 children admitted the same time, last year.

Dominik Stillhart, the ICRC director of operations worldwide was recently in the country visiting facilities supported by the organisation.

“What we saw in the two nutrition centres that we are supporting in Kismayo and in Baidoa, is nearly double the number of children that have been admitted to these two centres, which is clearly the result of the severe food crisis that is currently affecting Somalia,” said Stillhart.

“I have a lot of pictures of children when they come in with very severe malnutrition, be it marasmus or kwashiorkor and the photos after that. The parents usually say; when we brought this child here he was dying,” said Suuldano, the nutrition centre supervisor at Baidoa Regional Hospital.

Suuldano, the nutrition centre supervisor at Baidoa Regional Hospital.

Across the country, the number of malnourished children at its stabilisation centres and those run by the Somali Red Crescent Society has shot up 80 percent, to 12,710.

Uncertainty about sufficient rainfall during the current Gu season (April – May) has raised fears that the effects of the drought will persist and the risk of the situation deteriorating further remains very real.

The rains began in parts of the country in the second week of April and have since spread to most areas. The rains will allow farmers to plant crops as well as grass for the livestock that sustain Somalia’s nomadic families, although the long drought has already wiped out livestock herds and forced many farmers to seek aid in cities.

In addition to food shortages, Somalia is experiencing a rapid spread of cholera, with more than 20,000 cases reported nationwide. The outbreak is expected to worsen due to the rainy season.

Six years ago, a devastating famine in the country led to the death of over a quarter million people, half of them children.

Half of the country’s 12 million citizens are expected to need aid by July according to agencies.

“We are aiming together at reaching up to 7 million people until the end of this year and we have an appeal for roughly 600,000,000 Swiss francs from our donors,” said Stillhart.”

Food shortages are worsened by fighting in some areas occupied by al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab militants. But unlike in 2011, when al Shabaab’s restrictions on movement and its refusal to allow many aid groups access pushed up the death toll, the group is allowing people to move.

1.6m Children Suffer From Acute Malnutrition – UNICEF

Over 1.6 million children in Kaduna State, north west Nigeria are reported to be suffering from acute malnutrition.

This statistic was released recently by the kaduna State Action Plan on Malnutrition in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF).

According to experts, malnutrition is responsible for the death of 50 per cent of children under five years old in the state.

They say although malnutrition-related deaths are preventable, coverage and quality of treatment as well as adequate food intake are lacking.

Political, economic and cultural beliefs are some of the other causative factors that were also identified.

Through the Kaduna State Emergency Action Plan on malnutrition in collaboration with UNICEF, the wife of the governor, Mrs Ummi El-Rufai, however noted that a task force has been put in place with the sole purpose of ensuring that the disturbing statistic is reversed through concrete actions to provide food for the vulnerable.

Also addressing the issue, the Governor, Nasir El-Rufai stated that the Kaduna State government has taken steps to address issues of hunger and starvation.

He announced that his administration has committed over 300 million Naira to taking care of 50,000 malnourished children.

Observers however, say this figure is undoubtedly a far cry from the 1.6 million children who need support from government, organisations and other well-meaning citizens to get out of their bad situation.

UN Calls For Urgent Life-Saving Measures In Nigeria’s Northeast

IDPsThe United Nations is asking the Nigerian government and the international community to take urgent humanitarian measures to save lives and ensure the protection of hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the nation’s northeast.

The United Nations expert on IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, made the call on Monday after a four-day visit to Nigeria.

Signs Of Advanced Malnutrition

Mr Beyani described the situation resulting from the over six years of Boko Haram terror campaign and Government counter-insurgency measures as “displaying all the hallmarks of the highest category crises”.

“We are only starting to get a grip of the gravity and extent of the crisis, as civilians, including children, leave newly liberated areas.

“They bear the signs of advanced malnutrition, and of deep trauma, having been caught in a conflict that has cost them their homes, their livelihoods and often their family members,” Mr. Beyani said.

The expert pointed out that the fighting had created more than 2.5 million IDPs in the region.

In a statement issued on Monday the UN expert on IDPs said: “The situation must no longer be downplayed and it is not too late to save many lives. But to do this, the Government must act urgently to ensure that food, shelter, medical care, water, sanitation and other essential services reach IDPs without delay.

“Due to a gross underestimation of the crisis, the existing supplies will only cover needs for a very short period of time and will be soon outstripped by demands in the weeks or months ahead,” he said.

According to the UN expert, “the vast majority of IDPs live outside camps and receive little or no assistance. Urgent steps are required to identify those people and assess their needs, particularly those of the most vulnerable, as well as the needs of host communities who are supporting them with their own resources”.

“Settings For Exploitation”

The Special Rapporteur, who visited IDP camps in the Maiduguri area, highlighted that many people within camps in newly liberated areas may be faring little better.

“Food is scarce and many survive on one basic meal per day while medical care is insufficient. Civilians also require urgent protection, psychosocial support and counselling.

“Humanitarian agencies have little access to some areas due to security concerns and have been targeted by Boko Haram, whose terror activities have been contained by the Nigerian military but still pose a significant threat and danger.

“Camps should offer protection. Yet I am alarmed to learn that many are in fact the settings for exploitation and abuse of the most vulnerable. Reports indicate that women and girls face demands for sex to access food or to leave the camps.

“Early pregnancy and marriage are commonplace while many do not report abuse due to stigmatisation, cultural factors and the knowledge that perpetrators can abuse with impunity. Protection measures must be stepped-up and camps must quickly come under trained civilian management to prevent abuses,” he said.

The Special Rapporteur also acknowledged several positive measures taken by the Government such as a plan for rehabilitating the north-east and the establishment of oversight systems by the Parliament.

However, he expressed concern about the lack of international attention and resources to meet the immense needs in the region.

He called on donors to provide generous support to meet immediate needs and to enhance their long-term support, to ensure the return, reconstruction and durable solutions for IDPs as well as stability and social cohesion in the region.

The Special Rapporteur thanked the Nigerian Federal Government and the Borno State Government for their cooperation with his mandate. He will produce a full report and recommendations to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2017.

Mr Beyani’s call is coming few days after UNICEF said that about 49,000 persons are at risk of death before the end of the year if nothing was done.

UNICEF has also called for nutritious foods and community mobilisers that will go from door to door in the affected region to get the affected children to places they could be treated.

UNICEF Says Aid Continues In Northeast Nigeria Despite Attack On Staff

UNICEF, Northeast NigeriaUNICEF says it will continue to provide assistance to millions of conflict-affected children in northeast Nigeria, despite Thursday’s attack on a humanitarian convoy.

As a result of the attack, in which one UNICEF staff member was injured, travel by UN staff to high risk areas has been temporarily suspended.

However, UNICEF Nigeria Representative, Jean Gough, said that the organization continues “working at full strength in the Borno state capital Maiduguri”.

“We continue to call for increased efforts to reach people in desperate need across the state. We cannot let this heartless attack divert any of us from reaching the more than two million people who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.”

UNICEF has also called on donors and humanitarian organizations to scale-up the response to the emerging disaster in Borno State, which is the most affected by the conflict with Boko Haram.

Before the attack, security conditions had been improving in several areas. “Our teams were finding people living on the brink of disaster,” said Jean Gough,

“The violence has disrupted farming and markets, destroyed food stocks, and damaged or destroyed health and water facilities. We absolutely have to reach more of these communities,” she added.

UNICEF estimates that 244,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2016 in Borno State alone and if they are not reached with treatment, one in five of them will die.

It says it has provided two million people with health services and treated 56,000 children for malnutrition in the three conflict-affected states of northeast Nigeria.

A quarter of a million people have improved access to clean water, and over 200,000 children have been able to go back to school.

At the beginning of the year, UNICEF appealed for US$55 million for its emergency work, of which US$23 million has so far been received.

Despite the temporary suspension of travel to high risk areas, UNICEF plans to scale-up its response in Borno State substantially.

244,000 Children May Suffer Acute Malnutrition – UNICEF

UNICEFThe United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has called on all international agencies and the Nigerian government to help assist children in at risk of malnutrition.

In an interview with Channels Television, UNICEF’s Communications Officer in Nigeria, Doune Porter, said part of the assistance is to provide medical help for close to 250,000 children whom it says will suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year if not treated.

UNICEF estimates that 244,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2016 in Borno State alone and if they are not reached with treatment, one in five of them will die.

Meanwhile, UNICEF has said that it plans to scale-up its response in Borno State substantially, despite the temporary suspension of humanitarian aid in the state.

UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Jean Gough said in a statement that the fund cannot let a “heartless attack” divert it from reaching the more than two million people who are in dire need of immediate humanitarian assistance.

According to Ms. Gough , the temporary suspension will affect only high risk areas.

On Friday, the International humanitarian aid was suspended in northeast Nigeria after militants ambushed the convoy of aid personnel working with UNICEF, UNFPA and IOM.

The United Nations says the aid mission to Bama, in Borno State is temporarily suspended until a review of the security situation is complete.

Over 200,000 Children Risk Dying of Malnutrition In Borno – UN  

Malnutrition, Borno, IDPsThe United Nations says that over 200,000 persons, mainly children are at the risk of dying from malnutrition in Borno State as humanitarian needs of IDPs for food and medicare rise.

The UN humanitarian coordinator to Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Safieldin, made the shocking revelation at an emergency meeting with donor agencies and the Borno State government in Abuja.

According to him, if nothing is done to scale up interventions for food and medicare to IDPs, the camps are at the verge of losing five children every hour.

This alarming piece of information is coming as the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, has decried what he has described as NEMA’s tactical withdrawal of support.

According to the Governor, the last time NEMA supplied food to the IDPs was in February.

The Borno State Governor appealed to donor agencies to also look beyond suffering in the IDP camps as some returnees continue to face similar challenges for food and medicare in their communities.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, has given the assurance that government will give priority attention to the needs.

Only three ago, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) said the northeast is not yet conducive for the return of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).

The UNHCR regional representative for West Africa, Ms Liz Ahua, said that the persistent threat from Boko Haram, presence of mines and absence of basic services constitute acute humanitarian and protection risks for the affected population.

MSF Says 200 People Have Starved To Death In Bama

MSFInternationally renowned charity group, doctors without borders, MSF says that about 200 refugees fleeing Boko Haram militants have starved to death over the past month in Bama, Borno State.

The MSF says that a catastrophic humanitarian emergency is unfolding at a camp it visited where 24,000 people have taken refuge.

The group added that many inhabitants are traumatised and one in five children is suffering from acute malnutrition.

MSF head of mission in Nigeria, Aid Ghada Hatim said, “Bama is largely closed off. We have been told that people there, including children, have starved to death.

“According to the accounts given to MSF by displaced people in Bama, new graves are appearing on a daily basis. We were told on certain days more than 30 people were dying due to hunger and illness.”

During its assessment, the MSF team said it counted 1,233 cemetery graves located near the camp which had been dug in the past year.

Of those graves, 480 were for children.

The group says, “This is the first time MSF has been able to access Bama, but we already know the needs of the people there are beyond critical.”

Since 23 May, at least 188 people have died in the camp – almost six people per day – mainly from diarrhea and malnutrition.

Hatim added that the charity group is treating malnourished children in medical facilities in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.

Meanwhile the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has confirmed the report.

The Northeast Zonal Coordinator of NEMA, Mr Mohammed Kannar, said that it is working with other aid agencies to ensure that the victims are effectively taken care of