CS-SUNN Advocates Multi-sectoral Plan for Nutrition

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Ayodeji Ake

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), as part of its three focus areas, has called on state executive councils to approve funds for multi-sectoral plan of action for nutrition.

It also called for timely release of funds for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices, as well as maternal nutrition at state levels.

Addressing journalists at the Media Roundtable on Micronutrient Deficiency Control, organised by CS-SUNN in collaboration with the Federal Ministry Of Health (FMOH) and Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Lagos recently, the Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka, said globally, the burden of malnutrition has remained a great source of concern particularly in developing countries, including Nigeria.

She said: “According to UNICEF, every day in Nigeria, 2300 of under-five die, with malnutrition being the underlying cause of more than half of these deaths.

“Micronutrient deficiencies are a significant problem that has persisted overtime in Nigeria. It is a major public health problem caused by a lack of essential vitamins and minerals like, vitamin A, zinc, iron, iodine in diets.

“Micronutrient deficiencies continue to contribute to morbidity and mortality among children by impairing immunity, impeding cognitive development and growth as well as reducing physical capacity and work performance in adulthood.”

Eluaka,who applauded government for its interventions in combating micronutrient deficiency, also urged them to provide basic package of nutrition across all primary health centres.

“Though the federal government has put in place strategies to address the burden of micronutrient deficiencies, including provision of vitamin A supplementation, zinc supplementation, micronutrient powders, iron-folic acid supplementation and nutrition education on bio-fortified foods, these disturbing statistics is an indication that a lot more still needs to be done to combat the scourge.

“CS-SUNN is therefore calling on governments to scale-up nutrition provision of basic package of nutrition services across PHCs in Nigeria. There is need for massive sensitisation, education and awareness creation to provoke behavioural changes that will promote adequate IYCF,” she said.

Representative of the FMOH, Mr. Uruakpa John, in his presentation, said more investment was required in the area of micronutrient deficiency control.

He said: “The role of the media is important in achieving the target. Development and implementation of policies and programmes that favors procurement and availability of MNDC commodities such as vitamin A, iron folate, and micronutrient powders (MNP) are vital in the prevention of micronutrient deficiencies.”