Some experts and stakeholders in public health on Monday said despite efforts and policies aimed at improving access to basic nutrients, there is still a high prevalence of malnutrition particularly among Nigerian Children.
They said poor policy implementation by the Nigerian government, increased poverty occasioned by the harsh economic realities, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are major factors that have inceeased hunger and deepend malnutrition among women and children.
These were made known at a stakeholders meeting organized by the Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CSSUNN), in collaboration with Save the Children and Scaling up Nutrition Movement (SUN movement), in Abuja on Monday.
The Advocacy campaign and policy manager, Save the Children foundation, Ifedilichukwu Innocent lamented the lack of actionable and implementable policies in tackling nutritional issues in the country.
He noted that government has succeeded in developing applaudable policies but their implementation have only struggled and children bear the brunt of the the inaction. The manager regretted that Nigeria currently ranks 2nd country with the highest burden of stunting despite the Country’s financial allocation on Nutrition.
Innocent said Nigeria needs a Specific Measureable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound (SMART) commitment to enable her attain zero hunger and improve access to all the basic naturients.
“The meeting today is a step in the right is direction, the federal government had been to the UK and made some commitment in 2013 which were not actionable. If we are able to make the right commitment and get the federal government particularly the vice president make this SMART commitment, issues of malnutrition will be tackled” he explained
“Nigeria needs adequate allocation and efficient management of available resources to tackle malnutrition and Government need to make actionable and Implementable commitment.”
In her remarks, the executive secretary SUN Focal point, Binyerem Ukaire said for Nigeria to achieve optimal nutrition, consultations and recommendations would be needed from Civil society organizations, Government, Partners and others.
“The recommendations of the commitment will not only be financial issues alone. The commitment can also bee in various forms that will ensure that nutrition is scaled up and the four global target’s are achieved” she added.
A representatives from Melinda Gates foundation, Victor Ajieroh in his speech said for a better execution of policies and strategies for nutrition, Nigeria must commit to changing the narrative, every Sector must prioritise nutrition and nutrition must be included in the Universal health coverage.
The aim of the 2-day Stakeholders meeting was for participants to develop commitments which government will present at Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo.
to develop a national response for nutrition for Growth (N4G) summit at Abuja.