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FG advocates for better nutrition in Nigeria

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By Abiodun Okunloye

Partnership between CS-SUNN and health ministry improves nutritional conditions.

The Federal government is actively working to increase awareness and support for new nutrition policies in Nigeria to combat malnutrition. Prof. Muhammad Ali Pate, the Minister of Health and Social Welfare, made the special announcement during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CS-SUNN) event in Abuja. Dr. Ladidi Ayegbusi Bako, the Director of Nutrition who represented Pate, emphasised the major accomplishments made in the past ten years through the partnership between CS-SUNN and the ministry.

Among the activities he mentioned were hosting important strategic meetings for the Scaling Up Nutrition movement in Nigeria, organising yearly evaluation gatherings, and working with stakeholders to create commitments focused on nutrition. He stressed the significance of focused advocacy campaigns, leading to the implementation of comprehensive action plans for food and diet at the state level. Efforts have been made to improve the effectiveness of operations in diet by focusing on its specific and sensitive actions.

Progress in improving initiatives is delayed by insufficient funds.

Despite the progress made, issues like delays in meeting obligations and insufficient funds for nutrition programs continue to cause persistent malnutrition in every region of Nigeria. The strategy was being implemented to involve religious leaders in important discussions and carry out the National Social and Behavioural Change Strategy at a local level. The Ministry and CS-SUNN are dedicated to increasing their advocacy work, spreading stories of success, and involving policymakers to emphasise the importance of investing in diet in Nigeria.

Also, the plans involve implementing new fundraising tactics, enhancing support for grassroots initiatives, and creating a program to train and support its leaders. During a recent press briefing, Dr. Mbang Kooffreh-Ada, Chairman of the board of trustees for CS-SUNN, emphasised the importance of stakeholders focusing on and funding sustainable projects. Kooffreh-Ada urged a united effort from the government, private sector, civil society groups, and media to champion fair and comprehensive policies that guarantee every Nigerian access to sufficient feeding.

Prioritising nourishment will improve health and reduce disease risk.

CS-SUNN has been working with Key Ministries, Departments, Agencies (MDAs), and government agencies to combat malnutrition in Nigeria. Their efforts have improved the country’s condition by advocating for evidence-based policies and implementing strategic programs that enhance the said systems and create supportive environments for better outcomes. Sunday Okoronkwo, the Executive secretary of CS-SUNN, also emphasised the need to move beyond mere promises and implement concrete actions. He also called for better organisation and transparency in initiatives. He emphasised group dedication to promoting Nigeria’s nourishment goals and urged ongoing cooperation between partners to secure funding for enhanced results.

In addition to the benefits of improved health and reduced disease risk, prioritising it can have far-reaching impacts on society. By promoting a culture of healthy eating, the government can reduce the burden on the healthcare system, leading to cost savings and improved overall well-being. Focusing on nourishment can also boost cognitive function and productivity, ultimately contributing to a more efficient and prosperous economy. Additionally, investing in sustainable and resilient food systems can help address food insecurity and environmental sustainability issues, creating a more equitable and healthy society for all.

Related Article: Nigeria commits to improving nutrition

Lastly, the federal government can collaborate with schools, healthcare providers, and community organisations to promote healthy eating habits and provide access to nutritious foods in underserved areas. By addressing food shortage and improving food assistance programs, the government can ensure all citizens have the resources to make healthy choices. Investing in policies improves individual health outcomes and has broader societal benefits, such as reducing healthcare costs and improving productivity. Prioritising this can also lead to a stronger, healthier population and a more sustainable future for the country.

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