From: Femi Oyelola, kaduna
A Group under the auspices of Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS_SUNN) has said according UNICEF report, 2,300 under – five- year- old children die of mostly malnutrition related illnesses every day in Nigeria.
The Executive Secretary of the group, Beatrice Eluaka disclosed this during a one-day Media Round table held in kaduna yesterday.
Eluaka added that the burden of malnutrition has remained a great source of concern particularly in developing countries including Nigeria
She said the Media Round table was organized in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Health(FMOH)
and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD)
The Executive Secretary said these disturbing statistics are indication that a lot need to be done to combat the scourge and the media has a great role to play.
She called on all Government at all levels to Scale_up nutrition education and promotes awareness on Dietary diversification
“We urged all Nigerians to ensure they eat variety of wide range of foods including vegetables fruits and Proteins” She said.
Beatrice Eluaka expressed dismay over low funding for Nutrition by the Government, saying it is a major setback to the implementation of Nutrition Intervention.
She therefore called on all states without Budget line for Nutrition to create such and ensure Cash release with specific funds allotted to intervention around Micronutrient powder, staple food fortification and vitamin A supplement.
In his own presentation, Mr Uruakpa John from Federal Ministry of Health Abuja, said Micronutrient Deficiency (MND) or hidden hunger as it is called is a manifestation of malnutrition that has persisted over time in the country.
The paper titled’ ‘The Burden of Micronutrient Deficiency in Nigeria and Government Response to the Scourge’ he said Micronutrient Deficiency is now a major public health problem caused by a lack of essential vitamins and minerals in diet.
“Micronutrient Deficiency continues to contribute to morbidity and mortality among children by impairing immunity, impending cognitive Development and growth as well as reducing physical capacity and work performance in adulthood.
“The Federal Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and others Agencies have make response to the menace.
“The Inauguration of the National Micronutrient Advisory Committee (NMNAC) to advise the Minister is a breakthrough.
“Bio fortification of staple food,salt iodization, Rountine supplement for pregnant women and children from from 6-59 months and Routine deworming are some of the measure the Government is taking to address the problems”, he said
In her own remark Mrs. Akinbinu Adeyinka of Nutrition and Food Safety Division, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said the high rate of anemia in women of reproductive age is worrisome.