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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2018  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 184-185

The rising incidence of severe acute malnutrition in the conflict-affected parts of Nigeria

1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit & Medical Research Unit, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication18-May-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, 3rd Floor, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur, Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_77_17

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How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. The rising incidence of severe acute malnutrition in the conflict-affected parts of Nigeria. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res 2018;11:184-5

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. The rising incidence of severe acute malnutrition in the conflict-affected parts of Nigeria. Indian J Health Sci Biomed Res [serial online] 2018 [cited 2020 Feb 25];11:184-5. Available from: http://www.ijournalhs.org/text.asp?2018/11/2/184/232697

Dear Editor,

Most parts of Nigeria have been experiencing conflicts for close to 8 years and it has accounted for the massive internal displacement or migration of people to neighboring nations, shortage of food, and defects in the delivery of essential health care to the general population.[1],[2] It is an alarming fact that almost 7 million people across the nation are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, of which more than half need health assistance.[1] In India, with almost 70% of the population residing in rural settings, the prevalence of malnutrition among children is extremely high, which is again due to the health system and sociodemographic factors.[2]

Furthermore, it has been estimated that around 0.4 million children in the northeast part of the nation alone are having severe acute malnutrition predominantly due to the ongoing humanitarian crisis.[2],[3] As this is a life-threatening condition and it has been identified that almost 20% of the malnourished children can die in the absence of prompt medical attention, it is of utmost importance to consider it as a priority issue.[3],[4] In addition, it has been identified that close to 5 million children have to be immunized with measles vaccine through mass immunization campaigns, as the infection also precipitates malnutrition.[1] Further, it has been estimated that the children with severe form of acute malnourishment are almost nine times more at the risk of succumbing to the condition in contrast with the healthy children.[3]

Immediate measure to respond to the malnutrition is to screen the children and vulnerable population groups for the same and subject them to nutritional rehabilitation, with the active involvement of family members, especially the mother.[2],[3],[4] However, in the long term, interventions to eradicate poverty improve the living conditions of people and expand the reach of welfare measures to the disadvantaged population groups.[2],[3],[4] As far as the role of health sector is concerned, the problem of malnutrition is not new, and thus it is high time that multisectoral and integrated efforts are taken to respond to the situation, with a special emphasis on follow-up to prevent the recurrence of the problem.[2],[4]

To respond to the condition in the Borno state, stabilization centers have been established to effectively manage such children with coexisting medical complications.[3] The World Health Organization (WHO) has also come forward to support these centers by providing them with the essential medicines and logistics support.[3] These centers provide an inpatient facility for the malnourished child along with their family members, who are even provided with meals thrice a day.[3] In fact, the families have to not spend a penny, neither for the medical attention nor for the stay or the food supply.[3]

Moreover, trained health-care personnel are performing community-based screening activities for the identification of malnourished children and similar kinds of activities are being done even in the operational health-care establishments.[3] All the identified children are then referred to the stabilization centers for the appropriate clinical and nutritional interventions.[3] In fact, a set of personnel has been deployed in the field by the WHO under the hard-to-reach teams' concept for screening and referral activities, and till date, in excess of 17,000 children have been screened in the region.[3] Furthermore, many international agencies have extended their financial support to the nation to improve the nutrition-related indicators of the children in the nation.[3]

To conclude, amidst no immediate hope of the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in the nation, it is the need of the hour to improve the delivery of health-care services and reduce the rates of severe acute malnutrition among children.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

World Health Organization. Nigeria Crisis. World Health Organization; 2017. Available from: http://www.who.int/emergencies/nigeria/en/. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 22].  Back to cited text no. 1
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Childhood malnutrition: Where does the world stand? What else is needed? Int J Prev Med 2016;7:36.  Back to cited text no. 2
World Health Organization. Severely Malnourished Children in Borno State Benefit from WHO-Supported Stabilization Centre. World Health Organization; 2017. Available from: http://www.afro.who.int/en/nigeria/press-materials/item/9440-severely- malnourished-children-in-borno-state-benefit-from-who- supported-stabilization-centre.html. [Last accessed on 2017 Mar 22].  Back to cited text no. 3
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS, Ramasamy J. Formulating a comprehensive strategy to counter the menace of malnutrition in developing countries. Arch Med Health Sci 2014;2:266-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
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