Seasonal effects on child growth have rarely been investigated and very little information exists on the nutritional status of pastoralist Fulani children (6-59months). Data from such study could serve as a baseline for future studies, as well as informed public health policy. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of seasonal migration on dietary pattern and nutritional balance of pastoralist Fulani children (6-59months) in Kajuru L.G.A. A semi structured and food frequency questionnaire were used to collect socio-demographic and dietary information respectively. Height and weight of 581 and 145 children was measured after migration and upon return from migration respectively. This was analyzed using ENA for SMART to assess levels of malnutrition. Blood samples were also collected for analyses of some micronutrients; albumin and haemoglobin concentration were analyzed using Hemocue Analyzer on the field. The prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting during the dry season were 23.4%, 20.3% and 14.5% respectively and during the Wet season, the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting were recorded at 37.2%, 13.1%and 4.8% respectively. Boys were more severely wasted (3.0%) than girls (2.5%) while girls showed a higher percentage of severe underweight (6.8%) compared to boys (3.3%) and for stunting boys showed a higher percentage (12.5%) than girls at 7.6%.Overall, the age group that had highest percentage of wasting, stunting and underweight was children between 6-24months.The concentrations of micronutrients were normal in over 50% of pastoralist Fulani children measured during both seasons;54% and 67% of children had normal serum albumin levels during dry season and wet seasons respectively. According to the WHO thresholds, the prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition was serious(10-14%)during the dry season only and stunting was the only under-nutrition indicator of high prevalence during both seasons and this may be due to some underlying conditions associated with malnutrition such as poor dietary intake, infant feeding practices among others. Nutrition education, hygiene promotion and improved access to health care services may help reverse these trends.

1.1       Background Information
Malnutrition is perhaps the most important problem facing the poor people in the World today; in spite of the progress made in improving nutrient availability in the last decade, a large proportion of poor households in developing countries still have inadequate access to sufficient food (Abdulai and Aubert, 2004). Good nutrition is increasingly perceived as an investment in human capital that yields returns today as well as in the future, while bad nutrition is a threat to the nation; good life nutrition raises returns on investment in education and health care (Ezekwe, 2008). Inadequate consumption of protein and energy as well as deficiencies in Key micronutrients such as iodine, Vitamin A and Iron are key factors causing morbidity and mortality of children; malnourished children have lifetime disabilities and weakened immune systems (Ezekwe,2008).

Pastoralism is a livelihood based on livestock rearing which is experienced by sedentary or mobile communities; traditional pastoral production systems of Africa may be classified (in order of increasing mobility) as agro-pastoralism, sedentary pastoralism, semi-sedentary-pastoralism (transhumance) and nomadic or migratory pastoralism (Schwartz, 1993).In general, mobility is used to manage uncertainty and risks such as feed and water scarcity associated with drought and diseases in arid and semi-arid ecosystems (Admassu, 2003).

Many traditionally mobile populations continue to depend on production of various livestock species such as cattle, sheep, goats, camels, yak, horses and donkeys to provide animal source foods that can be sold for income or directly consumed (Randolph et al., 2007). Such livestock-dependent ―pastoralists‖ use mobility to manage uncertainty and risk (Schelling,2005), and generally move with their herds in response to animal needs, seasonal changes in habitat, socio-political arrangements for land use and access, and attimes violent conflict. Mobile pastoralists typically inhabit areas unsuitable for agriculture and industry, such as high altitude, high latitude (Zinsstaget al., 2006) and/or arid and semi-arid ecosystems, which are often far from major centres of high population density and infrastructural investment (Munch, 2007; Weibel, 2008). Migratory movements represent a complex response to a mix of abiotic, biotic and human social factors, including conflict (Dyson-Hudson and Smith 1978, Gray et al., 2003).

The Nigerian pastoralists are made up of various ethnic groups but the largest group of pastoralists is the Fulbe or Fulani that constitute about 95 per cent of the nomadic herders in Nigeria bearing at least thirteen names in West Africa, and found in more than twenty countries, the Fulani make up the continent's most diffuse ethno-cultural group (Islam, 2001). The population of Fulani nomads in Nigeria are high; based on the report of nomadic education extension services in 2002, Iliyasu (2012) estimated their number to be six million.

The Fulaniare mostly semi-settled, moving to locations where seasonal water supplies make pastureavailable during the dry season. However, some Fulani are nomadic and are constantly on themove in search of water and pasture. They keep large herds and depend on milk and dairyproducts for sustenance.The Fulani are the most vulnerable to diseases and natural hazards; their mobility exposes them to common colds and allergies associated with dust, weeds, and animals due to unprotected bodies exposed to bites or stings from bees, snakes, scorpions, mosquitoes, house flies, and tsetse flies and also the Fulani's drink water that is polluted with dirt and decomposing matter (Iro, 2004).

The Fulani indisputably represent a significant component of the Nigerian economy. They constitute the major breeders of cattle, the main source of meat, the most available and cheap source of animal proteins consumed by Nigerians (Eniola, 2007).The Fulani own over 90% of the nation‘s livestock population which accounts for one-third of agricultural GDP and 3.2% of the nation‘s GDP (Eniola, 2007). Furthermore, the contribution of the Fulani to the local food chain and national food security cannot be overstressed. The Fulani, with their dominance in the Sahel region, are the best known and most numerous of all the pastoral groups in Nigeria. The traditional and unique Fulani encampment (ruga) consisting of temporary structures made of stalks, closely knit family members and livestock is the natural habitat of the orthodox Fulbe settlement (Eniola, 2007).

Bruijin and Dijk (1995) and Noriet al., (2005) have assessed the sources of vulnerability in Fulbe pastoral system. It is shown that both the sources they control (animals) and do not control (land, water, market, politics) have direct and significant impacts on their livelihoods.

Globally, access to land, credit and property rights has a further impact on child survival prospects. Marginalized groups living in informal settlements, illegal dwellings or urban slums are vulnerable to health threats. These factors also create barriers to demand, impeding the initial and continued use of services by the most disadvantaged. When combined with low rates of immunization, this situation exacerbates the transmission of diseases (UNICEF, 2015).

1.2       Statement of Research Problem
Populations that abandon livestock-keeping for life in towns or farms often suffer worse nutritional hardships, particularly the loss of protein from milk and meat, resulting in worse malnutrition, especially for children (Hilderbrand, 1985; Nathan et al.,1996).High morbidity and mortality levels among nomadic and semi-nomadic pastoral populations raise some of the world‘s most problematic issues in terms of public health (Zinsstag et al., 2004).

Some argue that nomads have better health status than their sedentarized agricultural counterparts while others point out differences due to social or geographical isolation (Foggin et al., 1997). For instance, some studies have shown that some nomadic communities are less affected by intestinal parasites or demonstrate a lower susceptibility to waterborne diseases such as cholera and hepatitis (Nathan et al., 1996). In contrast, other inquiries have indicated the propensity of pastoralist populations to suffer from specific kinds of morbidity as well as from higher rates of infant/child mortality than those of settled agriculturalists; these trends are usually attributed to differences between nomadic pastoralists and crop farmers, of nutritional status, maternal diet, child care practices (Chabasse et al., 1983; Brainard, 1986).

These trends are usually attributed to differences, between nomadic pastoralists and crop farmers, of nutritional status, maternal diet, child care practices (Chabasse et al.,1983). The dual perspective about risks to the health status of nomads mentioned above can be explained to a large degree by the effects of geographic mobility(Loutan, 1989).On the one hand, it has been observed that regular pastoral migrations, population dispersion and low human density may protect nomadic populations from epidemics while they may also introduce some diseases to non-contaminated areas (Loutan, 1989). On the other hand, however, one of the side effects attributed to spatial dispersion which is widely recognized as deleterious is the consequence of geographic barriers to the effective use of the health care system (Hampshire, 2002).

Studies to determine the predominant diseases and nutritional status among nomads are rare or dated and, therefore, the health status of nomadic pastoralists in the Northern Guinea Savannah is not well known (Swift et al., 1990). Yet, such information is crucial for the definition of research and action priorities and appropriate health policies for nomadic people to reduce health inequalities. Furthermore, the heterogeneity of nomad populations makes it necessary to identify the groups or sub-groups who carry the highest burden of specific diseases prior to designing a strategy to deliver efficacious health care (Tanner et al., 1993).

Seasonal morbidity patterns of semi-nomadic Fulani differ considerably from those of settled ones (Hill, 1985). Loutan (1989) and Swift et al., (1990) summarised five main factors affecting the morbidity patterns in nomadic pastoralists: (i) proximity to animals, (ii) a diet rich in milk, (iii) mobility and dispersion with resulting difficulties in getting and maintaining treatment, (iv) the special environment (hot, dry and dusty), and (v) socioeconomic and cultural factors including the presence or absence of traditional healers.

1.3       Justification
Anthropometric indicators are useful, as they provide a simple and practical way of describing the problem in the community; they are possibly the best general proxy for constraints, such as dietary inadequacies, infections and other environmental risks, on the well -being of the poorest (Shetty, 2002). Anthropometric indicators are strong and easily obtainable predictors at the individual and population level of subsequent morbidity, functional impairment and mortality, i.e. the consequences of poverty and hunger; they are reliable indicators for measuring the success or failure of interventions at the micro level and for measuring the impact of macro level changes(Shetty, 2002). Pastoral societies often represent complex but poorly analysed systems, tending to be denigrated by policy-makers (Nori, 2007). Prevalence of anaemia and deficiencies of iron, zinc, vitamin A, riboflavin and other micronutrients are unknown for most pastoralist populations; we also lack data on birth weights and gestation length with which to assess fetal nutrition (Pike, 2000).

Mobility often improves human health as part of a suite of pastoralist adaptations that are continually responding to new opportunities and challenges (Fratkin et al., 2004; Schelling et al., 2005; Ekpo et al., 2008; McCabe, 1994;Nathan et al., 1996;Fratkin et al., 1999), but it also imposes constraints on the determinants of human health and well-being (Hampshire, 2002; Mocellin and Foggin, 2008; Pike et al., 2010), such as challenges to effective public health surveillance and intervention (Bonfoh et al., 2007; Tanner and Zinsstag 2009; Weibel 2008; Wyss, et al., 2003; Zinsstag, 2009). Concerns raised about human health and well-being among mobile pastoralists include an apparently high prevalence of micronutrient malnutrition, or ―hidden hunger‖ as it is termed in advocacy and policy development, and the issue of how to better measure and address it however, the specific ways in which pastoralist mobility improves or undermines micronutrient consumption remain poorly investigated (Sellen, 2010).

In Nigeria, the contribution of the Fulani to the local food chain cannot be over emphasised. More than 80% of Nigerians depend on the pastoral Fulani for meat, milk, cheese, hair, honey, butter, manure, incense, animal blood, hides and skins. (Iro, 2004). Thousands of Nigerians wholly or partly make a living from selling, milking, butchering, or transporting herds and the government earns revenue from cattle trade (Iro, 2004). The Fulani, therefore, play an important role in the economy and nutrition of Nigeria;therefore an assessment of pastoralist children‘s (6-59months) nutritional status would help in the identification of nutritional deficiencies and risks of disease and such information may be utilized towards the provision of nutritional support and nutrition.

Kaduna State lies within the sub-humid agro-ecological zone of north central Nigeria; this zone has an annual rainfall ranging from 600 to 1000 mm. The area is suitable for the production of crops such as sorghum, yam and maize. The state also provides a dry season sanctuary for cattle because of its relatively high rainfall, which supports the growth of pasture. The cattle population of the state is estimated at 1.007 million head; more than 90% of these are owned and managed by traditional, semi-settled pastoralists (RIM 1992).

1.4       Aim
The general aim of this study is to assess the impact of seasonal migration on the dietary pattern and nutritional balance of pastoralist Fulani Children (6-59months) in KajuruLocal Government Area of Kaduna State.

1.5       Specific Objectives
The specific objectives were to determine the:

i.                    nutritional status of the pastoralist Fulani Children (6-59months)

ii.                  feeding pattern of the Pastoralist Fulani households

iii.                status of albumin, haemoglobin and some micronutrients (Iron, zinc) concentration of Pastoralist Fulani Children (6-59months).

iv.                influence of seasonal migration on the nutritional status, feeding pattern, micronutrient status, albumin and haemoglobin concentration of the Pastoralist Fulani Children (6-59months).

1.6       Null Hypothesis
There is no significant effect of seasonal migration on dietary pattern and nutritional balance of pastoralist Fulani children (6-59months) in Kajuru LGA, Kaduna State.

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