Mr Clement Agba, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, has called on the sensitisation of the media on nutrition awareness to drive effective nutrition coverage.
Agba made the call during Nutrition Week 2020 at a Joint Ministerial Press Briefing in Abuja on Monday.
The Nutrition Week has a theme: “Nutrition, the Bedrock for Economic Development”.
He said that the ministry placed high premium on nutrition in view of its multi-sectoral nature and overarching effects on the nation’s socio economic development.
He said that the theme was carefully selected to further drive the importance the ministry attached to nutrition as a prerequisite for national development.
“Nigeria’s food and nutrition situation and the attendant poor global image in terms of economic and development milestones are major concerns to the ministry.
“This, among others necessitated the desire to carry out a week-long nutrition campaign conceived to serve as a platform for mobilising nutrition stakeholders toward addressing the challenge of malnutrition, which has been termed “the silent killer”.
“This challenge has been further accentuated by the new global normal occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic with its attendant economic impact leading to food insecurity,’’ Agba said.
The minister said that the country had high burden of stunted children, those under the age of five suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
He said this was quite worrisome and hence the need for urgent measures to reverse the trend.
Agba said that the in spite of the concerted efforts by the government in recent years in the areas of child nutrition and breastfeeding, malnutrition and other public health issues had remained a challenge, which must be addressed.
He said this problem could be addressed through the implementation of innovative policies and strategies that were appropriately funded, data-driven, sustainable and optimised in terms of transparency and accountability for the efforts to yield the desired results.
He stressed the need for continued work and collaborative effort across all levels of governments, especially the private sector and development partners in this regard.
Agba said that President Muhammadu Buhari had shown commitment to the eradication of malnutrition through the adoption and domestication of policies and strategic plans. (NAN)