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UNICEF Report Reveals Nigeria’s Under-Five Mortality Rate at 102 per 1,000 Live Births

A UNICEF report has underscored Nigeria’s issue with child malnutrition, attributing a high under-five mortality rate to severe food insecurity.

A report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has put the under-five mortality rate in Nigeria at about 102 per 1,000 live births.

This it said was a notable reduction from 120 in 2016 and 2017, but still far from the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 25 per 1,000 live births.

A statement by the Communication Specialist, Communications, Advocacy and Partnerships UNICEF -Nigeria, Susan Akila, also stated that estimated 100 children die in Nigeria every hour due to factors related to severe malnutrition One-third of these deaths (34 per 1,000 live births) occur within the first 28 days of life.

“Under-five Mortality 102 deaths per 1,000 live births. 100 children die in Nigeria almost every hour. If left untreated, children wth severe acute malnutrition (SAM) are nearly 12 times more likely  to die than a healthy child,” UNICEF said.

The report which was the most recent further stated that food insecurity was at an alarming rate in Nigeria.

For instance, UNICEF said 25 million people are food insecure, between the period of March and May this year.

It said that the number of people to experience food insecurity was projected to increase to 31 million by June and August 2024.

The UN agency cautioned that the cost of inaction by relevant authorities may lead up to 15 percent GDP loss for Nigeria.

UNICEF statement also highlighted the current situation about the resurgence of the polio variant known as Vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) in Nigeria.

It said that cases of the new polio variant were now being reported across Nigeria.

According to the UN agency, Nigeria as the last country to be affected by polio in Africa, got declared polio-free on August 25, 2020.

“At that time, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that transmission of the wild poliovirus had been stopped in all 47 countries in its African region,” it said.

However, UNICEF stated that after the certification, Nigeria started to report cases of another variant of Polio virus; the Vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV).

While explaining the form of the new polio variant, UNICEF said Oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) contains a weakened form of the poliovirus.

“The variant is a rare phenomenon that occurs when the weakened poliovirus in oral poliovirus vaccines (OPV) mutates and regains its ability to cause disease.

“When a person receives OPV, the weakened virus helps their body build immunity against polio- In rare cases, the weakened virus can mutate and regain its strength, becoming a vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) – cVDPV can spread to others, causing polio in people who are not fully vaccinated or have weakened immune systems,” it said.

Onyebuchi Ezigbo

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