The family of Mr and Mrs Sunday Nwevu with their 6 children, 3 of them are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition. Photo: Emmanuel Kutara
According to a United Nations Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) report, Nigeria has an estimated 2.6 million cases yearly of Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM, among Children from birth to 5 years.
Out of this number of estimated cases, over four hundred thousand children die yearly from the SAM.
Severe Acute Malnutrition occurs mainly in Northern parts of Nigeria, and some satellite towns, semi-urban settlements in and around the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Radio Nigeria Health Correspondent, Emmanuel Kutara takes a look at the journey of a family of 8, with 3 of the children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition in the Kwali area council of the FCT.
Precious, Perfecta and Peculiar are 2-year-old triplets in a family of eight suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Their mother, Mrs Praise Omari Sunday, a 35-year-old from Rivers State who shared her story to Radio Nigeria said she noticed the condition when the Children were 5 months old.
According to her, she took the triplets to Kwali General Hospital for examination and they confirmed a case of Severe Acute Malnutrition.
”When they were 5 months old, the last of the triplets, (Precious) when I tried to seat her down fell from the back. This made me take her to the hospital and they confirmed it was severe acute malnutrition after medical examination.”
Mrs Sunday and her husband Mr Sunday Nwevo are both unemployed and can barely feed a day, a situation which has fuelled the condition of the triplets.
Mr Nwevo narrated his predicament to radio Nigeria which he said at a point he became suicidal.
”sometimes I will cry when my children and wife are not around. I am just 42 years but look at the grey hair on my head which makes me look old, this is a result of stress from a hard menial job. At times when walking on the road, I do feel like jumping unto oncoming cars, but my inner voice will rebuke me.”
Mrs Sunday who said they feed on hand to mouth noted that they took advantage of programmes by donors who provided Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food, RUTF a food for (malnourished children) for the treatment of the condition.
Mrs Sunday called for assistance from the government and well-meaning Nigerians to alleviate her suffering.
”I am calling on the government and private organizations to come to our aid, by providing me with a freezer, a cooler and sachet water to sell, it will keep us going.”
One of the concerned nurses with the Kwali General Hospital who pleaded anonymity said the hospital records 6-10 cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition monthly.
The concerned nurse said in 2019, donors stopped the supply of free Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic-Food, RUTF, which made the hospital acquire locally made ones at the cost of between 1000 and 1200 naira, a price considered too high for most clients who can barely afford Transport fares to even the Medical Institution.
A monarch of the area council, Etsu of Kwali, Alhaji Shaban Audu Nizazo III, who Confirmed cases of Severe Acute Malnutrition in the council, said his emirate had intervened many times by supporting families to get Treatment.
He also called on the Federal Government to create more budgetary allocation for the treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition.
Reporting by Emmanuel Kutara; Editing by Abdullahi Lamino