IMMEDIATE RELEASE:Lagos, Nigeria, 10th April, 2020: The Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM Nigeria) has urged parents and guardians to desist from any action capable of endangering their family members at this time of battle to curb Wahun-Chinese Virus also known as Coronovirus or COVID-19 in the country, especially malnourished children.
Malnourished children are those under 5 suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) largely caused by a significant imbalance between nutritional intake and individual needs, according to experts at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Nigeria currently has over 2 million children in this category.
MeCAM is a media advocacy group contributing to nation building and mitigation of hunger as well as malnutrition especially in children and mothers in line with SDG goal 2 among others, made this call on Thursday following evidences of lack of adherence to the lockdown order by the Federal Government.
A press statement signed by the National Coordinator of MeCAM, Mr. Remmy Nweke and Director of Outreach, Mrs. Julie Ekong the group said that the counsel became pertinent following outcome of investigations and monitoring by the group on adherences by adults and families since the commencement of COVID-19 lock down in Lagos State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and Ogun State by the Federal Government over 10 days ago.
MeCAM noted with dismay that some adults and parents in the name of strolling for exercise, take walk with their children, without realizing the weight of danger they are putting such children to by mere exposure on the streets.
The group also gathered that in some instances, mothers have to back their children of less than five (5) years to the markets during the shopping windows of 10am through 2pm for open markets and 10am to 4pm for shopping malls in closed communities like estates, as allowed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
Equally, the National Coordinator of MeCAM, noted that these little actions as it may seem are putting children in danger, particularly now that many families are yearning for palliatives and nutrition meals at the same time.
The effect of this, he said, is that more families are being exposed and for already malnourished children the situation spells double tragedy.
Nweke pointed out that once any child is affected, it’s no longer only that child that is sick as the mother from what we know would not afford to leave her child to just die without attempts which does not preclude extreme contacts, at this era of social distancing.
He noted the possibility of having more malnourished people in the country at the end of this scourge if families do not get cautious of these situations and on what they consume as food.
He urged Nigerians to ensure they eat right and follow simple nutritious plans for their families in line with available economic powers.
MeCAM, therefore, enjoined parents who really love their families, to stop exposing these children and stay indoors as well, while sticking to all guidelines by the authorities including frequent washing of hands with soap and application of hand sanitisers where washing of hands becomes difficult.
Further, MeCAM advised parents to assist their children at this time with school home works no matter their conditions and show love to children who may be suffering malnutrition as they need to place them on special meal like the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF).
Government, MeCAM said should make arrangement to ensure that malnourished children and mothers receive special attention at this time whenever palliatives are being distributed to our communities.
National Coordinator, MeCAM, Mr. Remmy Nweke
Director of Outreach, Mrs. Julie Ekong