New data Reveals drop in Infant Mortality, Rise in Child Malnutrition

The outcome of the fifth Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey(MICS5) has shown how the country made significant improvements in infants mortality but fails to leverage on child Nutrition.

MICS5 which is the results of surveys by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), UNICEF and other key partners was conducted between 2016 and 2017.

For instance, between 2011 and 2016,  infant mortality rate has dropped to 70 per 1000 live births from 97 in 2011. Equally, deaths among children under age five have dropped to 120 per 1000 live births from 158 in 2011.

The survey results reveals how the efforts of government and stakeholders working on infants and child Health have yielded some significant improvements in some areas but remain unchanged or worsened in others since 2011.

Unfortunately, the gains in infant health could not be sustained as child malnutrition situations worsens and stunting has become a common feature in many parts of the country, especially Northeast.

Government it is noted has not been able to keep pace with population growth when the last survey was conducted.

Child wasting (children who are too thin for their age) increased from 24.2% to 31.5%, while child stunting (children who are too short for their age) increased from 34.8% to 43.6%, according to the report.

MICS5 is a recognised and definitive source of information for assessing the situation of children and women in the areas of Health; Nutrition; Water, Sanitation & Hygiene (WASH); Education; Protection; and HIV & AIDS amongst others – in Nigeria as well as in other countries where it is carried out. The findings of the survey are used for planning, monitoring and decision making on programmes and policies to address issues related to the well-being of children and women in Nigeria.

In the words of acting Representative, UNICEF, Pernille Ironside, “The use of this new MICS5 data will improve the lives of Nigerians by informing about important gaps that are impacting children and women so that appropriate actions can be taken. It is not about data for the sake of data”, she added

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