Children with Stunting

Nutrition: Stunting Rates Have Not Dropped Significantly


According to the Nigeria Global Exemplars in Stunting Reduction and Countdown to 2030 Country Case Study, Nigeria has made no significant progress in reducing stunting.

Adebola Orimadegun, the principal investigator professor of paediatrics at the University of Ibadan, spoke during the dissemination of the research in Abuja and stated “Overall, the national level of stunting reduction is not too encouraging, but it is just moderate compared to other countries of equal gross national domestic product.”

“We tagged states that have achieved significant reduction as ‘exemplar’ while states that have not achieved significant reduction as ‘opportunity’; opportunity because they can copy or replicate the good things that exemplar states have done. Kano for instance is an exemplar state, while Yobe is an opportunity state in Northern Nigeria. The opportunity state has increase in stunting rate rather than decrease; based on quantitative data; from 42 per cent to 43 per cent, while exemplar state showed reduction.”

Dr. Salma Anas Kolo, the Director of Family Health at the Federal Ministry of Health, explained that Nigeria made progress in political will and data in the steps analysed but did not do very well in terms of insecurity and food security.

Whilst being represented by Dr. John Ovuoraye of the ministry, she mentioned that the University of Ibadan, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Health, had led the study for Nigeria with the support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-Nigeria Country Office and the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, Toronto, Canada.

Professor Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, the Co-Director of SickKids Centre for Global Child Health, said that the research had shown that Nigeria had made progress in improving health and nutritional indicators for women and children and had the tremendous potential to do it even better even though the progress across the country was uneven as a result of different factors.

Dr Adeleke Mamora, the Minister of State for Health, stated that the findings and recommendations from the study would go a long way in supporting the government and stakeholders with sound evidence that could influence and shape programming and policymaking on stunting in Nigeria.

He said that Nigeria made about a seven-point drop in the stunting rate from 43.1% in 1990 to 37% in 2018.