APC Adopts Policy Framework to Tackle Child Malnutrition

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Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The states under the control of All Progressives Congress (APC) have adopted a framework for common policy initiatives to tackle malnutrition in their states.

Under the new framework, the states agreed to promote child nutrition and ensure that access to food by all vulnerable households is reasonably guaranteed at all times.

The adoption of the framework followed the discovery that
child malnutrition among children under five years of age was prevalent nationwide resulting in stunting and low cognitive ability among children.

In a communiqué issued yesterday after a teleconference meeting of Secretaries to Governments of APC States, the states adopted a framework that would address the challenge of child nutrition within the shortest time possible

The communiqué, which was signed by Plateau State Governor, Senator Simon Lalong and his Jigawa counterpart, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, lamented that malnutrition was responsible for low earning capabilities after the children had become adult.

On this note, it said the 9th quarterly meeting reviewed the details of the framework on promoting child nutrition in the APC states, providing necessary guidance to enhance the development of common policy initiatives and effective engagement of all stakeholders on issues of child malnutrition.

It added that the issue of malnutrition “is a social, economic and development challenge that must be addressed holistically, as part of the commitment to attaining the United Nations Social Development Goals (UN-SDGs) and meeting the target of zero hunger in the country by 2030.”

The communiqué added that the COVID-19 “has introduced entirely new dimensions to the crisis of nutrition by aggravating and widening the scope of the problem beyond the children, also to include the adult population.

“The APC governors therefore affirmed their commitment to initiate coordinated action and partnerships with critical stakeholders, including the federal government, the National and State Assemblies, development partners, civil society organisations (CSOs) and the private sector.”

The communiqués urged the governments of the APC states to increase investment in child nutrition to ensure good health and nutrition of children that will accelerate the attainment of the UN-SDGs and zero hunger in Nigeria by 2030, within the shortest time.

It said there was urgent need to improve the implementation of school feeding programmes and make monitoring and accountability part of the programme implementation.

It pointed out that child nutrition began from pregnancy and as such there was need to make sure that pregnant women eat well as this is critical to delivering healthy babies.

The communiqué read in part: “There is the need to adequately plan and develop capacities at all levels for ownership and sustainability of nutrition policies and programmes in the APC states.

“Accordingly, the meeting adopted a proposed framework for common policy initiatives on promoting child nutrition in APC states for the consideration of progressive governors.”

The governors agreed to plan and implement nutrition policy interventions and programmes that would be sustainable and resilient to the impacts of COVID-19 and the associated economic fallouts; and, develop and strengthen legislation, policies, strategies and action plans with measurable outcomes for nutritional and related interventions, including pregnant women, youth, and other vulnerable households.”