According to UNICEF, 100 children under the age of five pass away in Nigeria every hour from malnutrition. The National Council on Nutrition (NCN) meeting was held on Thursday in Abuja, where Nemat Hajeebhoy, the organization’s chief nutrition officer, made this statement. Another 15 million children, who are at risk of “wasting,” the phrase used to describe children who become emaciated due to hunger, are at risk, according to Hajeebhoy, if immediate action is not taken.
The nutrition officer explained that 300 children would have perished in this nation by the time this meeting was through. A child has a 12 times greater chance of dying if they are undernourished. Without immediate action, up to 15 million children would have suffered from what we refer to as “wasting” this year and next year in modern times (thin children).
There is a huge nutrition emergency in the country.
This is a sign that the nation is experiencing what is known as a nutrition emergency. In terms of the overall number of malnourished children, Nigeria is ranked first in Africa and second worldwide. Even if there is some good news, there has been a sluggish but steady drop in stunting over time. Furthermore, Nigeria’s economy is losing 15% of its GDP due to the gradual rate of decline.
Abimbola Adesanmi, the senior special assistant to the president on nutrition in the office of the vice president, also spoke during the event and stated that the federal government has developed measures to eradicate hunger in the nation. In accordance with SDG 2’s objective of eradicating hunger and all forms of malnutrition, The NCN as the highest decision-making body for Nutrition in the country has ensured that national indicators are aligned with global targets through national policies, strategies, and guidelines, Adesanmi said.
Officials have been deployed in order to attain the SDG goal.
On the policy front, the government has created the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition in Nigeria (2019-2023), National Policy on Food and Nutrition in Nigeria (2016-2025), and Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016-2020), among others, in accordance with national development plans and the achievement of the SDGs. Rasaq Oyeleke, director of nutrition in the ministry of agriculture, asserted that Nigeria can only have a healthy population if it can supply adequate nourishment.
Stunting and wasting, two of these kinds of malnutrition, are especially prevalent in the States in northern Nigeria. Significant problems to the nation’s development and public health are brought on by high rates of malnutrition. Stunting is associated with poor cognitive development, subpar academic performance, and low adult output in addition to an increased chance of death. In total, these are thought to be responsible for economic losses that could equal up to 11% of GDP.
UNICEF’s programme supports the government on the National Plan of Action.
By bolstering health and community systems and thoroughly integrating nutrition into all facets of the Primary Health Care (PHC) system, UNICEF’s program helps the government implement the National Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition. A special emphasis is placed on Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) interventions, and micronutrient supplementation. The nutrition interventions of UNICEF are also coordinated and convergent with those of other sectors, such as antenatal care, the prevention and treatment of pneumonia and diarrhea, immunization, deworming, the distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, and the nutrition of pregnant women and adolescent girls.
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