7.3m Adolescent girls, women in Nigeria undernourished – UNICEF Report

Must read

By Joyce Remi-Babayeju

A new UNICEF Report released today has shown that 7.3 million adolescent girls and women between the ages of 15- 49 years in Nigeria are undernourished.

The number of undernourished persons has jumped from 5.3 million in 2018 to 7.3 million in 2021,

This shows that in the last three years women and newborns have increasingly been at risk of malnutrition which puts Nigeria among the 12 hardest hit countries by the global food and nutrition crisis.

Also the National Food Consumption and Micronutritients Survery reveals that in Nigeria, 55 per cent of adolescent girls and women suffer from anaemia while nearly half of Nigerian women of reproductive age do not consume the recommended diet of at least 5 out of 10 food groups (grains and tubers, pulses, nuts and seeds, dairy, meat, poultry and fish, eggs, dark green leafy vegetables, other vitamin A rich fruits and vegetables, other vegetables and other fruits).

UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell said,“This nutrition crisis is pushing millions of mothers and their children into hunger and severe malnutrition,” adding that without urgent action from the international community, the consequences could last for generations to come.

“To prevent undernutrition in children, we must also address malnutrition in adolescent girls and women,” Russell added.

A new analysis shows that in Nigeria, 12 million children under 5 are stunted, meaning they are too short for their age due to malnutrition; while about half become stunted during pregnancy and the first six months of life, the 500-day period when a child is fully dependent on maternal nutrition.

With half of stunting in children under 2 developing during pregnancy and before six months, new global report raises the alarm on the need to invest in essential nutrition programmes for adolescent girls and women, the report stated.

A 2022 Cadre Harmonise analysis published by the Nigerian government shows that 17 million Nigerians are suffering from acute food insecurity, and this is likely to increase to 25 million in lean season this year (FMARD, 2022).

UNICEF Nigeria Country Representative Cristian Munduate said, ” To ensure a better future for our children, we must prioritize the access of adolescent girls and women to nutritious food and essential nutrition services.”

“The nutrition crisis is deepening among them, and urgent action is needed from all partners including the government of Nigeria and the international community. “

We cannot afford to overlook this crisis, and we must work together to transform food, health and social protection systems for adolescent girls and women.”

According to  UNICEF, Global crises continue to disproportionately disrupt women’s access to nutritious food. In 2021, there were 126 million more food insecure women than men, compared to 49 million more in 2019, more than doubling the gender gap of food insecurity.

The report has called for prioritising adolescent girls’ and women’s access to nutritious, safe and affordable diets, and protecting adolescent girls and women from ultra-processed foods through marketing restrictions, compulsory front-of-pack labelling and taxation.

Called on governments to mplement policies and mandatory legal measures to expand large-scale food fortification of routinely consumed foods such as flour, cooking oil and salt to help reduce micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia in girls and women.

Accelerate the elimination of discriminatory gender and social norms such as child marriage and the inequitable sharing of food, household resources, income and domestic work.

The 12 hardest hit malnutrition countries include Nigeria, Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Yemen, the epicentre of a global nutrition crisis that has been increased by recent impacts of COVID-19 and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine and ongoing drought, conflict, and instability in some countries.

Copyright DAYBREAK.

All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from DAYBREAK NEWS.

- Advertisement -

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

Latest article