New Study on the Determinants of Chronic Malnutrition in Northern Nigeria

The research team conducting interviews with women in Kebbi State (c) 2017 IFPRI

For a little over three weeks in April 2017, a team of four researchers from the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), led by Dr. Todd Benson, Senior Research Fellow, undertook field work to conduct a series of interviews in Bauchi and Kebbi States as part of a study focusing on the key determinants of chronic malnutrition in northern Nigeria. Following a request for the study by USAID/Nigeria to better understand child malnutrition in northern Nigeria, the researchers interviewed key informants at federal, state and local government levels, as well as development partners working on issues related to malnutrition during 4-26 April 2017.

The main objective of the study is to determine the drivers of chronic malnutrition that individually or collectively significantly impact the populations in Kebbi and Bauchi states, in order to identify and evaluate feasible agricultural and non-agricultural strategies for improving the nutritional status of children under five years of age with a focus on reducing the level of child stunting (low height-for-age). While the study focuses on Bauchi and Kebbi States, the results from the two states could also contribute greatly in enabling policymakers and other relevant stakeholders in addressing child malnutrition in northern Nigeria more broadly.

IFPRI's Segun Fadare (Left) and Todd Benson (Right) conducting interviews at local government level in Bauchi State in April 2017 (c) IFPRI

In particular, the study has the following three principal components:

  1. A thorough literature review on studies examining the determinants of child malnutrition in northern Nigeria;
  2. Qualitative fieldwork involving interviews with key informants at federal, state, and local community levels and, potentially, focus group discussions with members of women’s groups in the two study states who are beneficiaries of nutrition interventions; and
  3. Quantitative analysis using recent Demographic and Health Surveys for Nigeria to examine the determinants of child stunting in Bauchi and Kebbi states and to identify the key differences between those determinants in the two study states and other areas of Nigeria.  In addition, the analysis will examine whether these determinants are changing over time or have been relative stable.

Once finalized, the findings of the study will be made available in a report that will focus on generating insights to guide the design of feasible strategies for improving the nutritional status of young children in northern Nigeria. The report’s primary audience will be USAID/Nigeria; the Government of Nigeria (GON) through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) and the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH); and the relevant state governments where the study was undertaken. Other international development partners operating in Nigeria with activities focused on reducing malnutrition should also find the report of great value.

This study is part of the Feed the Future Nigeria Agricultural Policy Project, a joint effort between the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)’s Nigeria Strategy Support Program (NSSP) and Michigan State University funded by USAID/Nigeria.

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