Malnutrition amidst COVID-19: Thousands of children suffer damage, death In Sokoto
The nation ’s total focus on battling and containing the COVID – 19 pandemic appears to have given bandits in Sokoto and Zamfara States some ‘ respite ,’ as they have continued to unleash terror on hapless villagers in these areas , which has resulted in increased displacement of women and children . The situation has also led to severe hunger and increased malnutrition.
Investigation revealed that these states are currently hit by malnutrition – a terrible crisis that is killing many children in the North West .
Presently, Sokoto State has the highest prevalence of malnutrition in Nigeria , with 7 . 9 per cent of children aged six and 59 months severely malnourished ( NDHS, 2018 ) .
It is an endless tales of woe from the traumatised victims . One year after bandits drove Zuwaira Lawal and her family away from their village- Kamitau, in Goronyo Local Government Area of Sokoto , she is still struggling to save her three – year – old malnourished baby from dying .
Twenty-year – old Zumaira recalled how her husband and 24 other villagers were instantly massacred that day , by the bandits: “ It was terrible ! I only managed to escape with my three children , without any property . The bandits stole our land and cows. ”
Now resettled at Illela- a safer community at Goronyo LGA , without any means of livelihood , the mother of three said she survives and caters for her children through begging for alms .
“Sometimes , people give us something , sometimes they don ’t . Getting drinking water is also very difficult. We have to trek far distance to fetch water from a borehole , ” she said . Aside bandit attacks, the lockdown, occasioned by the pandemic, has contributed in no small measure to food scarcity , and increased price of staple food.
“Now things are even worse . People stay in their houses . Shops and mosques are closed ,” she said . When her last baby, Hassan, fell ill six months ago , and was vomiting and stooling , she tried all she could to save him .
“I gave him herbs and drugs , but he only got worse . Then he stopped eating completely, ” she recalled . “Then I heard about the free malnutrition treatment programme taking place at the Sabon-Gari Dole Primary Health Care Centre, and made a last attempt to save my baby.
“Someone told me about the United Nations Children Education Fund ( UNICEF ) programme at Sabon-Gari Dole , so I brought my baby for treatment. ” Two weeks after , Hassan has started regaining weight and is a lot better . Hassan is one of the many children currently receiving free treatment for acute malnutrition at Sabon-Gari Dole Primary Health Care Centre, Goronyo Local Government in Sokoto State.
The Community Management of Acute Malnutrition ( CMAM ) officer in charge said about 150 children had been treated successfully from October 2019 till date , at the Out -patient Treatment Centre ( OTC ) .
Culled from Guardian