SELYA YARNAP, Bauchi
About 420,000 children die annually in Nigeria of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) Scourge a development that is alarming and needs to be checked immediately to save the children.
This was disclosed during a two-day advocacy training aimed at equipping Journalists and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on the menace of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) as a child killer epidemic and the need to take measures in reversing the trend in Bauchi particularly and the country at large.
The training is being conducted in partnership with International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED) and Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF).
In her address, the Executive Director of International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Moji Makanjuola said the media as a key stakeholders in influencing policy change, adding that the ISMPH in collaboration with other partners put together the training to “better articulate the role media could play in holding policy makers accountable in support of SAM prevention and treatment”.
Represented by Solomon Dogo , Programme Manager of ISMPH while addressing participants at the commencement of the training held at the Command Guest House, Bauchi said that the main objective of the training was to expose Journalists and the CSOs to the SAM epidemic in Nigeria and secure their commitments towards using the Media to hold policy makers accountable on SAM prevention and treatment through intense and sustained reportage on SAM.
According to him, a 2017 UNICEF report has estimated that 2.5 million under five years Nigerian children suffer Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) every year, with nearly 420,000 of them dying annually.
Speaking also in her presentation, the Program Manager Network for Health Equity Development (NHED), Dr Grace Ontu, revealed that according to a 2018 SMART Survey, the largest percentage of SAM burden is concentrated in the North East with 8.7 per cent prevalence , North-West 8.3 per cent, South-West 6.8 per cent, South-East 5.6 per cent , while the South-South has 6.7 and the North-Central with the least of 4.9 per cent.
Mr. Edosa Oviawe, disclosed that the training will feature presentations, group work exercise and field visits to CMAM sites in Bauchi State for a first hand information on the scourge of SAM.
The Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF) called on the participants to contribute in the fight against SAM through sustained reportage of nutritional issues as well as advocacy for prompt release of budgetary allocation on health related activities in the states.
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