FG Reiterates Commitment to Eradicate Malnutrition, Unveils Five-year Action Plan

James Emejo in Abuja
The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has said the federal government remained committed to the eradication of malnutrition in the country.

The minister pointed out that although malnutrition is a global challenge, Nigeria currently ranks among the top countries still grappling with the scourge.

Citing the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018), he said the country had about 2.5 million children under the age of five years with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

Agba, at a media briefing on the 2021 Nigeria Nutrition Week celebration themed, “Food Systems Transformation for Healthy Diets and Nutrition”, also launched the National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition (NMPFAN) 2021 – 2025,

The plan was approved by the FEC September 8, 2021 to further achieve the country’s nutrition objectives.
He stressed that”Health is only wealth when our food becomes our medicine and our medicine is our food” adding that undernutrition had irreversible consequences on physical and cognitive development.

He pointed out that the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a global negative effect on the economy adding that the health of Nigerians has also had its fair share.

The minister said the challenges posed by the pandemic had been further accentuated by the impact of climate change and other vices plaguing the country.

This, he said, had resulted in lower incomes and higher prices of food items thereby putting food out of the reach of many Nigerians and thereby undermining the government’s efforts to meet the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2 on achieving zero hunger.

Nonetheless, Agba said, in spite of these challenges, the federal government had not relented on its efforts to build, protect the economy and fund the healthcare sector.

He said this year’s theme was carefully selected to further drive home the importance the ministry attaches to nutrition as a prerequisite for national development.

He said the Federal Executive Council (FEC) had at its meeting of November 10, 2021 approved the National Development Plan, (NDP) 2021-2025.

According to him, the plan is a blueprint designed to guide the implementation of government policies and programmes and deliver on the aspirations of the current administration.

He said some of the specific objectives of the plan are to improve GDP growth to 5.0 per cent on average during the plan period, generate 25 million jobs and lift 34 million Nigerians out of poverty.

He also said that NDP had robust participation and input by renowned nutrition experts in the country.

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