Severe Child Wasting Cases On Alarming Rise In Northeastern Nigeria

FHI 360, a nongovernmental organisation operating in Nigeria’s northeastern region, has reported that over 15,000  cases of child wasting have been recorded in 2023 alone, calling on urgent support and intervention to address the crisis.

FHI 360, a nongovernmental healthcare organisation operating in North East Nigeria, has reported a significant rise in cases of severe wasting among very young children in the crisis-affected region. 

According to recent data made available to HumAngle, a staggering 15,781 malnourished children were admitted to the organisation’s facilities for treatment of moderate and severe wasting, including complications, between February and September 2023.

This figure represents an alarming increase of approximately 160 per cent compared to the previous year. 

‘Child wasting’ refers to a condition where a child is too thin for his or her height. It is usually the result of recent rapid weight loss or the failure to gain weight. A child who is moderately or severely wasted has an increased risk of death, but treatment is possible. 

The gravity of the situation is further highlighted by statistics from August alone. During that month, an average of 50 severely malnourished children were admitted each week to FHI 360’s stabilization centres in Borno state, the epicentre of the crisis.

“The situation in North East Nigeria is grave, and increased support is needed to address the critical health and nutritional needs of communities, especially women and children,” said Jennifer Garcia, the Media Relations Manager at FHI 360, in a statement mailed to HumAngle. 

FHI 360 has emphasized the severity of the situation and is urging the international community to take notice.

Garcia, whose statement expressed deep concern about the situation, encouraged individuals to learn more about the crisis. FHI 360 said it has dedicated staff on the ground who are available and eager to shed light on the unfolding events in their community. 

Child wasting is one of the World Health Assembly’s nutrition target indicators.

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Abdulkareem Haruna

Abdulkareem Haruna is a Nigerian journalist currently employed as the Editor for Lake Chad at HumAngle. For over a decade, he has demonstrated a passionate commitment to reporting on the Boko Haram conflict and the crisis in the Lake Chad region of northeastern Nigeria. He is a graduate of English Language and holds a Diploma in Mass Communications. Prior to his current role, he served as an assistant editor at both Premium Times and Leadership Newspaper.

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