Ending Malnutrition Will Drive Sustainable Development, Says DG NAFDAC

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Malnourished children

Martins Ifijeh
The Acting Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, has stated that tackling malnutrition effectively in Nigeria will drive sustainable development across the country.

She said the current funding of nutrition intervention was not enough to meet the 2025 World Health Assembly (WHA) targets or the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets of ending malnutrition in all its forms, adding that the concrete action to address malnutrition was being scaled-up by all stakeholders.

Oni, who stated this during the National Consultative Summit on Food Fortification #NigeriaFutureFortified in Lagos, said; “Commitment to and financing nutrition intervention may be ramped-up significantly especially with the recent approval of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition by the Federal Executive Council. The approval of the Policy was made possible as a result of the stewardship of the Honourable Minister for Budget and National Planning.”

According to her, good nutrition signals the realisation of people’s rights to food and health. “It also provides foundation for human development. In a nutshell, good nutrition is an essential driver for sustainable development. When people’s nutrition status improves, it helps break the inter-generational cycle of poverty, generates broad based economic growth and leads to a host of benefits for individuals, families, communities and nations.

“Malnutrition takes many forms: wasting and stunting in children, obesity and nutrition related non-communicable diseases. These effects of malnutrition apply in all countries and one-in-three people on the planet. Nearly half of the populations of all countries face these multiple serious burdens of malnutrition,” she noted.

She stressed that the Agency was not unaware of the fact that there was still high rates of child and maternal mortality in Nigeria which is partly due to malnutrition. “The Nigerian government in collaboration with development partners, in particular, GAIN, UNICEF, Micronutrient Initiative (MI), WHO and a committee of selected experts initiated certain actions and mounted control programmes including Mandatory Food Fortification aimed at addressing the micronutrient deficiency problems in the country,” she explained.