The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) has launched Anaemia Reduction in School and Non-school Girls (ARISING) project to address iron deficiency in girls and pregnant mothers which leads to maternal mortality in the country.
The UNICEF Chief Field Officer, Katsina and Kano States, Madam Padmavathi Yedla, disclosed this during the launch of the project on Saturday at Rimi, Katsina state.
She said that the state was selected for the pilot project in Nigeria, pointing out that it will be implemented in Rimi, Kankia and Kafur Local Government Areas.
“The lessons learned will inform the scale-up of the project not only to other parts of Katsina, but other states in Nigeria.
“Katsina state is selected for the pilot project in view of the high political commitment of the state government and her positive response to issues of children and women,’’ she said.
Yedla said that the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN) revealed that the prevalence of anaemia among women in Nigeria is 63 per cent.
“Iron deficiency in women is among the leading causes of maternal mortality contributing 20 per cent of total annual deaths.
“Reaching out nutrition interventions to about 20 million girls in Nigeria, with an average age of marriage being 15 years.
“Will go a long way to not only reduce anaemia among the age group, but would save the lives of many adolescent girls from maternal deaths and children from malnutrition in the future,’’ she said.
She said that women would also be counseled on child spacing and appropriate diet to be taken particularly during pregnancy.
The officer explained that Vitamin A supplement for children protects them against the major child killer diseases like cholera, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
Yedla said UNICEF would continue to support the project and other child survival and development programmes to enhance the wellbeing of Nigerian children.