The U.S. has provided an additional 9.5 million dollars (about N2.9 billion) to the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) to ensure good health for pregnant women and children under five years in Nigeria’s Borno state.
The U.S Embassy in a statement in Abuja said the fund was to ensure that more than 175,000 mothers and children did not suffer from malnutrition during “lean” season in 2017.
It quoted U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID), Nigeria Mission Director Stephen Haykin as saying that “the grant was from USAID’s Health, Population, and Nutrition Office.
Haykin said the grant was to augment ongoing support for the humanitarian assistance in Nigeria by U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and Food for Peace.
He said it was also to seek to bridge a funding shortfall announced by WFP late last month.
According to him the grant will fund a blanket supplementary feeding programme to protect the nutrition status of children aged six months to five years.
He said that it would also help in lactating women in Internally Displaced Persons Camps and host communities of Borno State through provision of specialised nutritious foods.
“In response to the call by WFP to meet a severe funding shortfall, USAID is pleased to play a part in making sure that the most vulnerable of those impacted by the Boko Haram conflict are taken care of.
“This support will go to nine areas where the needs of mothers and their children are the greatest”, he said.
He said that the assistance would help WFP reach additional 110,000 children under five and 65,000 pregnant and nursing mothers with specialised nutritious food commodities in nine local government areas in Borno.
“WFP launched what is known as a Blanket Supplementary Feeding Program aims to prevent the further decline in nutritional status among young children suffering from moderate acute malnutrition.
“It is also aimed at protecting the nutritional status of others who are not yet malnourished but are at high risk”, he said.
He said the programme would distribute the nutrient-rich food monthly through the end of the rainy, or “lean”, season in August.