Zainab Bagudu, wife of Kebbi State Governor, on Thursday said about 60 per cent of children in the state suffered malnutrition.
Mrs Bagudu made this known at the flag-off of November 2018 Maternal Newborn and Child Health (MNCH) Week in Jega Local Government Area of the state.
She said the state has stunted children of about 60.3 per cent, which she described as well above the 32 per cent of national average in 2017.
“With over 11 million stunted children, Nigeria is, without doubt, confronted with the doubting challenge of malnutrition and ranks second with highest number of stunted children globally.
“For Kebbi, there are various quoted statistics ranging from 47 to 90 percentage prevalence in 2017, the stunting rate stood at 60.3 per cent well above the national average of 32 per cent,” she said.
“Whatever the figure is, it is too high.
“It is unacceptable that the state prides itself as leading in the rice and agricultural production while the children under age five were dying of hunger.
“Honourable lawmakers, policy makers and implementers, my colleagues in the health sector, civil servants, we have to stop playing lip service to the issue and reverse the trend now,” Mrs Bagudu charged.
She said she championed the routine MNCH weeks and led the creation of breastfeeding rooms in government workplaces and public spaces.
“This was done in response to the Wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari’s call to improve upon their implementation of the routine MNCH weeks.
“I urge the local government chairmen to follow suit and make it easy for mothers to satisfy the recommended six months of exclusive breastfeeding.’’
She however commended the state government and partners for establishing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres in 120 sites across the 21 local government areas of the state.
The wife of president, who was represented by Hansatu Zanna, commended Mrs Bagudu for her efforts.
She applauded Mrs Bagudu for her ability to align with the national priorities in ensuring that the May and November rounds of the MNCH weeks held as scheduled.
“We must strengthen our systems and support our women to adopt healthy practices and seek appropriate care for maternal and child health.
“Improving the health and well-being of women and children through advocacy and delivery of essential healthcare services is what my Future Assured programme seeks to achieve,” Mrs Buhari said.
The MNCH weeks were introduced in 2010 as bi-annual programme following recommendation from the National Council on Health.
The aim of the MNCHW is to reduce morbidity and mortality in mothers and children less than five years of age in Nigeria.