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Gov’t to Enhance Nutrition Interventions

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By Mercy Kelani

There is a need to tackle pressing issues and expand nutritional initiatives.

Nigeria is gearing up to enhance nutrition interventions by placing a strong focus on creating dedicated nutrition departments within key federal ministries and increasing support for nutrition programs. The Vice President of Nigeria, Sen. Kashim Shettima reaffirmed his dedication towards the improvement of nutrition in the country while discussing the new action plan during a briefing. Sen. Shettima stressed the crucial need to tackle pressing issues and expand nutritional initiatives for citizens across the country.

He promised his backing for the establishment of nutrition departments within important government ministries and pushed for more aggressive promotion efforts and financial resources for activities related to nutrition. The Vice President emphasized the importance of funding for tackling nutrition problems and encouraged stakeholders to establish ambitious goals and collaborate with the private sector in advocating for change. He stressed the importance of working together as a group in order to advance nutrition projects nationwide.

Strategic Roadmap for Transformative Nutrition & Food Security in Nigeria.

More so, Senator Kashim Shettima urged state governments across the country to join forces with the matching fund initiative of UNICEF in order to increase private sector backing for nutrition programs in local communities within the nation. Uju Rochas-Anwukah, the Special Assistant to the President on Public Health, praised the Vice President for his effective leadership in the promotion of nutrition initiatives. She also highlighted the significance of decentralized coordination and accountability in nutrition efforts.

She detailed the plan of action for the committee, which emphasized the importance of coordinating efforts, securing funding, setting priorities, and expanding interventions. Dr. Ahmad Abdulwahab, a Senior Health Advisor working at the Secretariat of the Nigerian Governors Forum, praised Sen. Shettima for his dedication to promoting nutrition initiatives. He suggested that the Strategic Roadmap for Transformative Nutrition and Food Security in Nigeria be put into action in order to tackle the obstacles to expansion.

Prevalence of malnutrition is a major obstacle to public health.

Representatives from a wide range of organizations, such as the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, UNICEF, the World Bank, the Dangote Foundation, and Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria, were all present at the meeting. Nigeria is facing a significant issue with child malnutrition – it has the world’s second highest number of stunted children, affecting 32 percent of children under five. Approximately 2 million children in the country are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, but only 20 percent of them are receiving treatment.

Additionally, 7 percent of women in Nigeria who are of childbearing age are also experiencing acute malnutrition. Northern Nigeria is facing a critical health crisis with both stunting and wasting affecting the states in the region the most. The prevalence of malnutrition is a major obstacle to public health and overall development in the country. Malnutrition results in not only a higher likelihood of mortality but also has negative effects on brain development, leading to subpar academic achievement and decreased productivity in later years.

Related Article: Nigeria Commits to Improving Nutrition

These consequences add up to substantial economic setbacks, estimated to be equal to 11 percent of a country’s GDP. UNICEF is dedicated to assisting the government in carrying out the National Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition. This is achieved by enhancing health and community systems and ensuring that nutrition is seamlessly incorporated into every facet of the primary health care (PHC) system. Emphasis is placed on initiatives such as community management of acute malnutrition (CMAM), infant and young child feeding (IYCF) interventions, and the provision of micronutrient supplements.

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