- Ibrahim Aiuba was 21 months old when he died after getting sick in mid-December 2016 with a bad stomach
- His body was unable to fight off an attack of measles after he lost so much fluid from vomiting and diarrhea
- For his mother, Fati, the loss is so intense that she still sees him in her dreams
- Ibrahim's death will motivate the team at UNICEF Nigeria to continue their efforts until no child suffers from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria
Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of infants’ mortality in the Nigeria.
According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), about 2.2 million out of the 2.5 million severely malnourished children in Nigeria are from northern part of the country.
Last year, the Working to Improve Nutrition in Northern Nigeria (WINNN) programme disclosed that 58% of children under five in Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Yobe, and Zamfara states suffer from stunting and an estimated 370,000 children with severe acute malnutrition will require lifesaving treatment, without which some 70,000 of those children are likely to die.
Every day, efforts are being made to resolve the problem of child malnutrition but unfortunately, some lives are still lost. This is the case of Ibrahim Aiuba, a one-year-old boy who passed away on Boxing Day 2016.
His mother Fati is yet to come to terms with the loss of her son who according to her still comes to her in her dreams.
Little Ibrahim got sick in mid-December with a bad stomach. He lost so much fluid from vomiting and diarrhea that his body was unable to fight off an attack of measles. He was left so weak by the measles and eventually died within two weeks at the age of 21 months.
Narrating what happened, his mother said: "Ibrahim used to be a very strong, smiley and bouncing one-year-old. He climbed on my lap and grabbed my hair all the time.
"But then he started vomiting and he got diarrhea. He lost a lot of weight in a short time, he had a high temperature and his skin was dry.
"We took him to the hospital and he recovered a little. But then he became ill on top of his already poor physical condition and I could only watch him slipping away."
Fati still mourns the loss of her son and will grieve for years to come. However, this mother is determined to protect her three surviving children and give them a good chance in life.
Ibrahim’s case highlights the dangers facing more 450,000 children in northeast Nigeria who are currently at risk of death from severe malnutrition.
States in Nigeria, especially those in the north eastern region are battling to stem the scourge of malnutrition which has affected more than 1,594,462 children.
The Boko Haram insurgency also made things worse. The Islamist sect has been attacking towns and villages in the northern parts of the country since 2009. Over 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes and are now living as internally displaced persons in buildings provided by the government.
In 2016, the UNICEF raised an alarm that an estimated 400,000 children under five of age will suffer from acute malnutrition in northeastern Nigeria due to the ongoing Boko Haram crisis.
Though Nigerian troops have defeated the insurgents and taken control of the territories captured by them, the people in those areas are still facing severe food shortages and some are living in famine-like conditions.
According to the United Nations, the financial cost of Boko Haram damage in the North-east is about $9 billion since 2009.
An estimated quarter of a million children are said to be suffering from severe malnourishment.
More needs to be done to address the issue until no child suffers from severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria.
Survivors from Boko Haram attack will always remember what they went through because of the insurgents. NAIJ.com visited the IDP camp near Abuja to see how children are being treated after their horrible experience.