UNICEF executive director laments the health situation of children in north-east Nigeria

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On 17th November 2016, UNICEF Nutrition Officer, Aishat Abdullahi, assesses 7 month old Umara Bukar for malnutrition at a UNICEF supported health clinic at Muna Garage IDP camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, northeast Nigeria as Umara’s mother (in black) looks on. 20 days ago Umara weighed just 4.2kg when he first arrived at the health clinic run in partnership with the Nigerian government. He now weighs 5.1kg. To date, over 117,00 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in northeast Nigeria have been admitted to therapeutic feeding programmes run by UNICEF and partners.

Statement by Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director, on the situation of children in Nigeria

“The violent conflict in northeast Nigeria has left children severely malnourished and at risk of death.”

“In the three worst-affected states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, farming has been disrupted and crops destroyed, food reserves depleted and often pillaged, and livestock killed or abandoned.

“In Borno, where the fighting has been most brutal, 75 per cent of the water and sanitation infrastructure and 30 per cent of all health facilities have been either destroyed, looted or damaged.

“The impact on children is devastating.

On 7th November 2016, children attend a class at a primary school in Muna Garage IDP camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. There are nearly 2,000 children enrolled at the UNICEF supported - in partnership with the government - school in the camp. With the assistance of UNICEF and partners, over 88,000 children have access to safe learning spaces in north-east Nigeria and almost 155,000 children have been reached with learning materials.
On 7th November 2016, children attend a class at a primary school in Muna Garage IDP camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. There are nearly 2,000 children enrolled at the UNICEF supported – in partnership with the government – school in the camp. With the assistance of UNICEF and partners, over 88,000 children have access to safe learning spaces in north-east Nigeria and almost 155,000 children have been reached with learning materials.

“We estimate that 400,000 children will suffer from severe acute malnutrition over the next year in the three affected states. If they do not receive the treatment they need, 1 in 5 of these children will die. Cases of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are on the rise, further endangering children’s lives.

“These figures represent only a fraction of the suffering. Large areas of Borno state are completely inaccessible to any kind of humanitarian assistance. We are extremely concerned about the children trapped in these areas.

“We are making a difference in the areas we can reach. With the World Food Programme and other partners, we are treating acutely malnourished children. We are vaccinating children against measles and polio. We are providing safe water and sanitation services.

On 17th November 2016, UNICEF Nutrition Officer, Aishat Abdullahi, assesses 7 month old Umara Bukar for malnutrition at a UNICEF supported health clinic at Muna Garage IDP camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, northeast Nigeria as Umara’s mother (in black) looks on. 20 days ago Umara weighed just 4.2kg when he first arrived at the health clinic run in partnership with the Nigerian government. He now weighs 5.1kg. To date, over 117,00 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in northeast Nigeria have been admitted to therapeutic feeding programmes run by UNICEF and partners.
On 17th November 2016, UNICEF Nutrition Officer, Aishat Abdullahi, assesses 7 month old Umara Bukar for malnutrition at a UNICEF supported health clinic at Muna Garage IDP camp, Maiduguri, Borno State, northeast Nigeria as Umara’s mother (in black) looks on. 20 days ago Umara weighed just 4.2kg when he first arrived at the health clinic run in partnership with the Nigerian government. He now weighs 5.1kg.
To date, over 117,00 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in northeast Nigeria have been admitted to therapeutic feeding programmes run by UNICEF and partners.

“But this is nowhere close to enough.

“Without adequate resources and without safe access, we and our partners will be unable to reach children whose lives are at imminent risk.

“What is already a crisis can become a catastrophe.”

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UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org

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