According to official statements from the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Nigeria is making positive strides in carrying out its nutrition commitments declared at the Nutrition for Growth (N4G) summits. The summits organized by N4G brought together individuals from diverse fields in order to ensure financial and political backing for nutrition, with a focus on the essential contributions of food, healthcare, and social safety nets to attain optimum nourishment for the people. In 2013, London hosted the inaugural N4G summit, followed by Milan in 2017, and most recently in 2021, Tokyo took the reins as the host city for this prominent event.
During a media Roundtable held in Abuja on the topic of Advancing Nigeria Nutrition commitments from pledges into concrete actions, Mrs. Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, the Director and Head of the Nutrition Division in the ministry, addressed the audience with her perspective. Mrs. Bako-Aiyegbusi expressed that the purpose of the meeting was twofold: first, to heighten consciousness and second, to assess the efforts made by Nigeria in enhancing nutrition outcomes. There had been about four commitments that had been put into action as per her statement, while the progress of the remaining commitments varied at different stages of implementation.
Scorecards are used to track the various commitments made by governors.
Furthermore, she provided an explanation, stating that there were no obligations highlighted in red. On the contrary, there were several commitments marked in green, all of which had been successfully fulfilled. She estimated that around four of these completed commitments were commencements, while the remaining orders were at different stages of completion. Mrs. Bako-Aiyegbusi pointed out several obstacles that have impeded progress, such as the sluggish translation of policy frameworks into feasible programs, insufficient allocation of resources, and flawed data collection practices.
Chidinma Ezenwa, who works at the Nigeria Governors Forum secretariat, emphasized that the assessment of nutritional strategies is being conducted at the state level. This evaluation is carried out by means of scorecards. According to her, the NGF relies on scorecards as an effective tool for monitoring, advocating, and ensuring accountability. These scorecards are used to track the various commitments made by the governors and hold them responsible for fulfilling those commitments. It is important to note that these commitments span across different areas such as health and other departments.
There is still much ground to cover and further endeavours are imperative.
Mrs. Lilian Okoro, the esteemed representative of CS-SUNN (Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria), praised the government for the strides it has made in the field of nutrition. However, she emphasized that there is still much ground to cover and further endeavours are imperative. According to her, CS-SUNN not only commends the government’s stated dedication to nutrition, but also emphasizes the importance of converting these words into tangible actions and policies at both the institutional and operational levels.
Additionally, Mrs. Okoro made a plea to the various tiers of government to enhance their efforts in order to achieve a significant and positive change in nutrition governance. The establishment of Nutrition Departments within the Federal Ministries of Agriculture and Rural Development, Women Affairs, Information and Culture, Health, and the Ministry of Information in Nasarawa State is praiseworthy. Their efforts were applauded and the administration led by President Tinubu was urged to extend this initiative to all nutrition-related departments in every MDAs at all tiers.
Malnutrition reduction in the country was stressed upon by Priscilla Oche.
It was further stressed by Lilian Okoro that by prioritizing nutrition, it is their belief that it will be given an influential position in the decision-making process within Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDA), granting it a seat at management meetings. Malnutrition reduction in the country was stressed upon by Priscilla Oche, who represented the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, along with Mrs. Kodak Eunice Chinyere, the Chairman of the NSN FCT chapter. Both individuals highlighted the significance of media advocacy.
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