NGO expresses concern over high rate of stunted children

Civil Society-Scaling Up nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has expressed concern over what he described as “high rate of stunted children in the country due to malnutrition.”

The Project Officer of CS-SUNN in Abuja, Mr Ambrose Evhoesor, expressed the concern in Kaduna on Wednesday during a five-day training organised by the civil society for Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Community-Based Organisation (CBOs) and the media.

According to him, malnutrition is a major impediment to normal growth of children and impairs brain development.

He said that “the National Nutrition Health Survey 2018 puts the national stunting rate at 32 per cent among children under five years’’.

Evhoesor added that the development was critical in the North West with 52.1 per cent and 44.3 per cent in North East.

The project officer, who explained that “stunting is irreversible, meaning that the affected children will experience limited capacity in adulthood which will affect their ability to contribute meaningfully to national development.

“Nigerian children have a huge role to play in the country’s national development and the generation of children growing up today.

“They are expected to accelerate the progress made by the current generation of leaders.

“However, they will not be able to do much because over 30 per cent of them have impaired cognitive development, while others are acutely malnourished.”

Evhoesor said that the CS-SUNN training waz to strengthen the advocacy skills of participants on nutrition policy implementation and funding.

He added that it was to also develop key messages to push for full implementation of Breast Milk Substitute (BMS) Code, right to food, maternity protection and food fortification policies.

“The BMS Code aims to protect and promote optimal infant and young child feeding practices by ensuring appropriate marketing and distribution of breast milk substitutes.

“It is to encourage safe and appropriate use of commercially processed foods when necessary.”

Mr Kunle Ishola, the Project Assistant, CS-SUNN Kaduna, urged policy makers to make concerted efforts toward reversing the burden of malnutrition in the country.

This, according to him, will be achieved with adequate funding and full implementation of policies designed to improve the nutrition situation in the country.

In a paper entitled “Understanding the Nigerian Policy Landscape for Food Fortification”, Ishola said that the media, CSOs and CBOs have a role to play in advocating for the implementation of the country’s food fortification policies. (NAN)