USAID, UNICEF tackle water shortage, malnutrition in northwest

A girl suffering from severe acute malnutrition is weighed at a Unicef nutrition clinics in the Muna camp in Nigeria. PHOTO: AFP / STEFAN HEUNIS


In a move to provide support for the country’s perennial water shortage, the Mission Director, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Stephen Haykin has said that over 57 million Nigerians lack access to potable water in Nigeria.

Besides, the Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and his Bauchi State counterpart, Mohammed Abubakar have commended the USAID in embarking on the project to improve water supply in the two states.

Speaking yesterday at the official launch of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Kaduna, Haykin said that one million Nigerian children die yearly for lack of drinkable water.

He disclosed that the perennial shortage of water had resulted in USAID’s effort to support the programme aimed at enhancing water supply in the country with $2.5 million to enable Nigerians have access to potable water.

He pointed out that having clean water and sanitation was very essential for the development of a healthy society.Earlier, project Coordinator of WASH, Timeyin Uwejamomere said the water supply project was expected to last for two years through November 2018, adding that it would primarily target urban areas and focus on Bauchi and Kaduna states.

Meanwhile, the Chief of Field UNICEF Office in Katsina, Mrs. Padmavathi Yedla has disclosed that it was a misconception to think that malnutrition was only possible in poor families, stressing that it could exist in rich and wealthy communities.

Yedla said at the Nutrition Budget Tracking Workshop in Kano recently that: “The misconception of malnutrition is that it is only for poor people. But it can also exist in rich countries, if mothers lack adequate knowledge of how to take good care of their children.”

She said the intervention was done to help unhealthy mothers with adequate medical treatment for nourishment.A UNICEF fact sheet had revealed that under-nutrition remained high in Northern Nigeria with about 2.2 million out of the 2.5 million severely malnourished children from that part of the country.

“Over 50 percent child mortality in Nigeria is caused by malnutrition with no fewer than 1200 out of 2600 estimated daily deaths. “Lack of budgetary allocations, delay or non-release of appropriated funds to nutrition hinder sustainable provision of Ready To Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF) and threatens efforts to save severely malnourished children,” the report stated.

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