About 50% infant-maternal deaths malnutrition-related, says Kwara commissioner


About 50 per cent of infant-maternal deaths in Nigeria have been attributed to malnutrition by the Kwara State Commissioner for Health, Dr Amina El-Imam.

She stated this in Ilorin the state capital on Tuesday, during the opening of a five-day training of Maternal-Infant Young Child Nutrition Training of Trainers in Ilorin.

The training was organised by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Kwara Ministry of Health, with the support of the World Bank for state-level Training of Trainers.

The commissioner said that the training is expected to increase the pool of trainers for the step down of training to health facilities in the state.

According to El-Imam, inadequate nutrition has far-reaching consequences on children and the nation at large.

“The provision of adequate nutrition during pregnancy, breastfeeding, infancy and early childhood remains an important means of addressing malnutrition, thus promoting optimum growth, health and behaviour of mother and child.

“The first 1,000 days, that is, from conception to a child’s second birthday is recognised as a critical period during which adequate nutrition should be provided for growth, development and attainment of full potential.”

She further explained that developmental delays, impaired educational ability, a lifetime of poor health, increased risk of chronic diseases and early death are some of the effects of malnutrition.

The health commissioner, therefore, stressed the need to equip health workers with the required knowledge and competence for
result-oriented Maternal Infant and Child Nutrition counselling and support to mothers and children.

She noted that with such knowledge, it would be easy to implement the laudable MIYCN policy, which is a roadmap to improving maternal and child nutrition indices.

Speaking also, the Director of Public Health, Kwara Ministry of Health, Dr Oluwatosin Fakayode, described high-level infant under-five and maternal mortality figures as “unacceptable.

She added, “Our health indices remain unacceptably high, particularly the infant under-five and maternal mortality figures. The major cause of this is undernutrition, called poor nutrition.

“When you look at the causes of maternal, newborn and under-five deaths, the ones that are related to malnutrition account for about 50 per cent. So, when you solve the problem of nutrition, you can reduce the death rate.”

Fakayode explained that the training is, aimed at increasing the knowledge base of healthcare workers in the state, as well as the attitudes and practices of mothers, pregnant women and adolescent girls.




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