- Two-year-old Kyellu survives Boko Haram and Malaria threats to stay alive
- But sadly, Kyellu is just one of the 4.4 million children in need of humanitarian assistance around Borno state
- Nigeria is home to the highest number of stunted children in Africa and the second highest globally
Yiza Liman, 30, had painted a gloomy picture of a disaster as she watched her two year-old daughter, Kyellu rushed into the UNICEF health centre in the city of Maiduguri, Borno state capital.
This is because Kyellu’s tiny little body and eyes sharpened with fear had sent shivers down her spine.
In distress and confusion, she retreated into the hospital ward as health worker, Babagana Mustapha, immediately detected severe malnutrition in Kyellu’s body.
"When we go to sleep, I am afraid that I will find my daughter dead in the morning,” Yiza Liman said after discovering that her daughter was down with malaria.
"She used to play, to laugh and she even started talking - but all that is gone now," she added.
Little Kyellu hasn't known plenteous food in her short life and, as a child born in the region of northern Nigeria under attack by Boko Haram insurgents. She also has not known peace.
"This little girl needs immediate medical care," said Babagana when he saw Kyellu before arranging anti-malaria tablets and an infusion.
Kyellu weighed only 7 kg, a little over half the normal weight for her age and her upper arm circumference measured just 9 cm, dangerously below the normal circumference of 13 cm.
But within few hours, the urgent process of restoring her strength began as she was fed a few spoonfuls of RUTF, a vitamin rich paste specially designed to combat severe acute malnutrition.
She is now on the road to recovery.
But sadly, Kyellu is just one of the 4.4 million children in need of humanitarian assistance around Borno state, the region of North-East Nigeria that has been subjected to Boko Haram attacks.
Although it was gathered that more than 75,000 children were admitted and treated for severe acute malnutrition last year, the fact that nearly half a million still needing treatment, shows that there is much more to be done.
Nigeria is home to the highest number of stunted children in Africa and the second highest globally. Almost one in five Nigerian children is acutely malnourished and more than one in three children suffers from stunted growth.
According to the United Nations, over 200,000 people, mainly children, are at the risk of dying from malnutrition in Borno state, as the needs of refugees for food and medicine rise faster than these can be provided.
The UN humanitarian coordinator for Nigeria, Mohammed Safieldin, made this known at an emergency meeting with donor agencies and the Borno state government in Abuja on Monday, June 27, 2016.
Safieldin disclosed that if nothing is done to scale up interventions for food and medicare to refugees, the camps are on the verge of losing five children every hour.
Although, Kyellu may have made it to the clinic just in time to beat death, the question of how many other severe acute malnourished children out there is one that needs an urgent response.
Even though the issue of malnutrition is not only shortage of food, but also the issues of disease and lack of clean water, the Nigeria government still needs to address this huge humanitarian need at the same time fight the war against insurgency.
If the government can take responsibility for dealing with the IDPs according to international best practices, Nigeria will attract more foreign assistance and collaboration.
Watch video of some of the survivors of Boko Haram insurgency in Borno state