In stemming the tide of malnutrition and its devastating consequences, especially in northern Nigeria, 10 local governments in Zamfara State have benefitted from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Ready to Use Therapeutic Foods (RUTF).
The programme, in collaboration with USAID through the Food for Peace (FFP) project, is being run in several areas of the state, including Zumi and Shinkafi local governments.
UNICEF senior local government facilitator for nutrition in Zamfara State, Mr. Michael Ediemeh, said the intervention, which is for children between the ages of 0 and 59 months, has been effective with no recorded cases of a relapse.
He said the micro nutrient powder which is given to children between the ages of six and 23 months is for the prevention of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) while the RUTF is for the treatment of SAM, which is given to children between the ages of six and 59 months.
He said the success of the programme has been possible due to the cooperation of the mothers with the caregivers at the primary healthcare centres as well as the community nutrition mobilisers who educate and enlighten mothers at the community level.
He stated that the RUTF has significant advantages over liquid-based diets. He posited that the therapeutic food is easily used at home by mothers and it is digestible among sick and malnourished children. He concluded that the RUTF is effective in promoting rapid weight gain in malnourished and protein deficient children. This Day