New data reveals drop in infant mortality, rise in child malnutrition

A new data, known as the Fifth Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey (MICS5), has shown that Nigeria made significant improvements in infant mortality, but fails to leverage on child nutrition.

MICS5, which is the results of surveys by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and other key partners, was conducted between last year and this year.

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

The survey results revealed how the efforts of government and stakeholders working on infant 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 worsened and stunting became a common feature in many parts of the country, especially the northeast.

Government, it 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 per cent to 31.5 per cent, while child stunting (children who are too short for their age) increased from 34.8 per cent to 43.6 per cent, 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 and hygiene; 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 wellbeing of children and women in Nigeria.

In the words of acting UNICEF Representative, 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.”



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