The Civil Society – Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on governments at all levels, businesses, civil societies and international agencies, to take urgent and coordinated actions to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic turning into a global food and humanitarian crisis.
In a statement on the ‘united call to include nutrition in the government’s COVID-19 Response’ signed by the Executive Secretary of CS-SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka, CS-SUNN similarly advised that in the rush to stall the spread of COVID-19, Nigeria should consider the disastrous increases in malnutrition in both the immediate and long term.
According to the 2018 Nigeria Nutrition Health Survey, Nigeria’s current childhood under-nutrition indicator is put at 37% stunting, 7% wasting and 23% underweight. Similarly, against the background that 2.9 million children under the age of five were threatened by malnutrition, the CS-SUNN foresees an increase in these indicators during and after COVID-19 pandemic, if the government does not beam its focus on a continued fight against malnutrition.
To this end, the CS-SUNN said that communities and vulnerable groups, especially women dealing with malnutrition and children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), were more likely to be affected because of the pandemic. “Since malnutrition weakens the immune system, these populations are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19,” said Eluaka. The CS-SUNN further noted that the spread of COVID-19, with attendant measures put in place by government to curb it, was now threatening many Nigerians already made vulnerable by food and nutrition insecurity, malnutrition and the effects of conflicts and other disasters. New Telegraph