The Chairman and Managing Director, First Foundation and Africa Future (FFAF), Dr. Tosin Ajayi has called on the Nigerian government to invest in healthy nutrition for the benefit of mothers and children.
Speaking during FFAF’s Child Nutrition Campaign as part of plans to mark October 1 Independence Day celebration, Ajayi said it was the organisation’s conscious effort to raise awareness on how the next generation can be fully developed to perform efficiently in the environment.
The cardiologist said: “The Centre for Disease Control discovered that the first 1000 days of life, which represents conception to the second birthday of a child, are critical periods for child development.
“Failure to feed the mother and child with the proper macronutrients will result in a defect in the child’s development. The child will not be able to function as a normal human being.
“Government needs to make macronutrients available for mothers and children in order to have a generation that is fully developed to tackle world issues.
“With this solution, we can change the whole atmosphere of Africa in one generation. If we can get someone in an executive position to take the responsibility of funding the nutrition of pregnant women and children from ages zero to five, we will be free from diseases and underdevelopment.
“We have to invest in the first 1000 days of life. It is possible because we have the financial capability and resources. We may not have the technology but we can employ it. The next children coming should be able to perform better than us,” he said.
He explained that both mothers and infants need proper nutrients, as this would aid physical and mental development of the child.
“We should stop having people that cannot apply themselves to their environments. Life is not all about food and sex, it is about uniting with the world.
“Once we are able to change the macronutrients of mothers and children, we will have children who can be better than the Awolowos and Azikiwes. It is not a complicated solution. This will be the beginning of Africa emerging from underdevelopment,” he urged.
According to UNICEF, 50 per cent of the growth failure accrued by two years of age occurs in the womb owing to poor nutrition of the mother.
Studies have shown that early macronutrient undernutrition is associated with lower IQ scores, reduced school success, and some behavioral abnormalities.