Stakeholders in the nutrition sector has called on media practitioners in the country to advocate for balanced diet and nutrition among Nigerians.
The Deputy Director Nutrition Ministry of Finance Budget and Planning Mrs Nelson Chito made the disclosure at the 2021 edition of Nutrition Week’s Sensitization of the Media and Information Officers of MDAs on Nutrition Awareness.She added that the health indices coming out from Nigeria in terms of nutrition is not really encouraging.”The stunting rate in Nigeria among children of under 5 years is 37% according to the National Demographic Health Survey of 2018. This has-been so since 2013, which signifies lack of improvement, as far as stunting is concerned “.Exclusive breastfeeding rate is still at 29% since 2019. As simple as exclusive breastfeeding is, it has incured cost to families involved even though all the woman needs is adequate feeding and support from family members”. She further added that dietary diversification is still very poor among Nigerians and there is need to improve better in that regards.
The Country Director of Global Alliance For Improved Nutrition Dr Michael Ojo, who was represented by Mrs Joy Akpata said the nutrition body is committed to investing minimum of $250 million dollars over the next five years to support national food system transformation and implementation pathways.
“We have identified priority areas in nutrition, and work in nine countries including Nigeria. We also focus on biofortified crops through its commercialization.We want to expand production and consumption of biofortified foods in Nigeria specifically through vitamin A, Maize and vitamin A cassava production”. “GAIN also improves the enabling environment for biofortified seed and food productions through advocacy, catalystic finance and Technology licencing services.”
UNICEF Nutrition Officer, Madam Nkiru emphasized the need for different stakeholders in the nutrition sector to change the narrative.
According to her, tackling nutrition issues in the country requires a multisectorial approach.” There is need for the right partnership to create a new narrative for nutrition.The media should also send the right message to the audience . We need to work hard to reverse the malnutrition trend in Nigeria through partnership with nutrition experts driving creative program and initiatives that will improve the nutrition sector”.