Nigeria needs N186m annually to address malnutrition – FG

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The Federal Government says Nigeria needs N186 million annually for five years to address the challenge of malnutrition in the country.

Dr Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Minitry of Health, disclosed this at a two-day Nutrition Budget Tracking Workshop for Civil Society Organisations and Media in Abuja on Friday.

While presenting “How to Track Budget line for Nutrition: Assessing Public Expenditure on Nutrition through Budget Analysis’’, Isokpunwa said the overall money needed to address malnutrition in Nigeria is $912 million.

He said that malnutrition referred to deficiencies, excesses or imbalances in a person’s intake of energy or nutrients, adding that the term malnutrition covers two broad groups of conditions – under nutrition and overweight.

According to him, under nutrition includes stunting which is low height for age, wasting which is low weight for height, underweight which is low weight for age and micronutrient deficiencies or insufficiencies, a lack of important vitamins and minerals.

He said that overweight includes obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.

“The National Strategic Plan of Action is a cost nutrition plan to tackle malnutrition in Nigeria and the total cost required for that plan is $912 million U.S dollars, that is close to a billion Naira.

“This amount is spread over a period of five years which comes to about 186 million U.S dollars annually to address malnutrition in Nigeria.

“Most of it will be used to treat children with serve acute malnutrition and also to enlighten people on behaviour change.’’

According to Isokpunwu, malnutrition is wide spread in the country; though it is higher in the North-West followed by the North-East then North-Central.

He said that it is 50 per cent in the North-West, 42 per cent in the North-East, in the North-Central; it dropped to about 24 per cent but it is increasing in the southern region.

He said that in the South-East region it is now 17 per cent, adding that in all the three southern region malnutrition seemed to be going up so it was a national issue that needed to be address holistically.

“If we now talk about equity, equity is about ensuring that those areas that have higher issues get higher attention.

“This, however, does not mean that the areas that have lower issues get lower attention so as to ensure that malnutrition is addressed across the nation as a whole,’’ he said.

Mr Muhammed Muritala, the Programme Officer on Nutrition Advocacy, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC),bsaid that inadequate provision of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) across the country was worrisome.

Muritala explained that the workshop was aimed at engaging the media and civil societies to advocate budget provision for malnourished children as well as improve the sate of nutrition in the country.

He said that though the Federal Government made allocation for funding nutrition, the budgets had yet to be released in most states, leaving developing partners to champion and mobilise resources alone.

Also, the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Chizoba Steve-Edemba, estimated that 2.6 million children in Nigeria suffer from malnutrition and these children are nine times likely to die.

Chizoba charged the federal government to address the situation and tasked CSOs and the media to amplify the processes and hold governments accountable for funding provided.

The UNICEF nutrition specialist said that this would go a long way to reduce the number of malnourished children in the country. (NAN)

– Dec. 14, 2018 @ 18:42 GMT |

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