The Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Sen. Lanre Tejuosho on Tuesday said the situation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States is a blessing in disguise for Nigeria.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, he noted that “before the IDP issue started, Nigeria was losing 1, 200 children daily due to malnutrition. That is about 36, 000 children dying every month.
“If you go to all the federal hospitals, the pediatric wards, you will see malnourished children all over. It is from there you get the statistics with United Nations and Federal Ministry of Health”, he said.
He further maintained that “what is happening in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe is just a blessing in disguise for us to actually do what is right for malnutrition in this country”, adding that malnutrition is responsible for 53 per cent of deaths of children under the age of five.
Despite this chilling statistics, he lamented the low income being budgeted for tackling malnutrition in the country, revealing that “a meagre N2.4 million” was allocated for nutrition purposes in the 2016 budget “that was not properly done” due to time.
Sen Tejuosho said malnutrition reduces the immunity of a child, which will make the child vulnerable to other diseases, adding that “a malnourished child will die earlier on a simple case of pneumonia”
He insisted that malnutrition is the “real thing to tackle to ensure that any human being is not vulnerable to such diseases”.
He proposed the composition of a Nutrition Department in the proposed 10, 000 Primary Health Centres, “to be introduced in the next two years”, as a way of curbing the menace.
The United Nations has warned that some 50,000 children could starve to death this year if nothing is done.
However, the Federal Government has expressed readiness to welcome a global partnership that would ensure a concerted and focused international response to the humanitarian crisis arising from the insurgency in the northeast.
Over two million persons have been displaced in the northeast, a fallout of the over six years of insurgency by a terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“It is very important that you chose to come and offer some partnership. This is great and we are pleased…Partnership is certainly the way to go,” the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday, while receiving members of the ONE campaign led by the international rock star, Bono, and Africa’s richest man, Mr Aliko Dangote.
He said no matter how prepared a country could be, handling the kind of crisis in the northeast with over two million displaced people including children, as a single country “would be irresponsible”.
“A global partnership to address the situation should be coordinated and more focussed on what is required to be done, for instance, in addressing the issue of malnourished children and not attempting to do too much things at once,” he told the gathering.
Earlier, the Irish born artist, Bono, said he had visited some of the IDPs.
“We want to be useful to you,” he said, explaining that what he saw in the region was “deeply disturbing”, he maintained.