Malnutrition, an infringement on rights of children- FG


By Chika Onyesi

The Federal government has stressed the need to urgently address the child malnutrition situation in Nigeria, especially, the North East.

It says the emphasis is because the effects of malnutrition directly impacts on the survival and development of affected children and the development of the country in general.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohamed who noted that addressing the nutrition challenge of millions of children in the North east is an avenue  to attaining sustainable development goals said adequate nutrition can only be achieved  through investments.

The minister was speaking at a media dialogue on Child Malnutrition, organised by UNICEF and sponsored by the UK Department for International Development, DFID in Maiduguri, Borno State.

The dialogue is aimed at drawing government’s attention to the severity of malnutrition situation in the North East and to x-ray current interventions being implemented in the affected states.

Represented by the Deputy Director and Head, Child Rights Information Bureau (CRIB), Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mr Olumide Osayinpeju, the minister said the Federal Government has come to the realization that lack of access to basic nutrition is an infringement on the rights of children.

‘‘There is therefore need to invest in child malnutrition for the future, there is need to understand the problem of malnutrition, resource allocation for food and nutrition security at all levels. It is imperative to combat Malnutrition, because it increases mortality rates in children’’

‘‘Malnutrition is a large burden to a country, and tackling malnutrition entails empowering and educating people. Improved nutrition is the key to improved national and human development and this can be done by educating the populace and creating a positive approach towards nutrition’’ he said

The minister explained that efforts have been made by the Government to provide policies and structures to manage malnutrition in the country through various programmes and to support nutrition through Exclusive Breastfeeding, Complementary Feeding from six months,

‘‘Even the Home Grown School Feeding programme, to mention but a few; all of which are aimed at eliminating poor feeding practice for children.

While emphasizing that it has become necessary to intensify awareness campaign to all actors, government on the need for proper nutrition, the minister said there is need to educate Nigerians on what constitutes a healthy meal and how to achieve this through available resources.

Currently an estimated 2.5 million children under five years of age suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in Nigeria.



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