Mr Clement Agba, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, has called for 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 “Nutrition, the Bedrock for Economic Development” as its theme.
The minister 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 which 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 ‘a silent killer’.
“This challenge has been further accentuated by the new global menace, occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic, with its attendant economic impact leading to food insecurity,’’ he said.
The minister said that the country had a high burden of stunted children, those children under the age of five suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
He said that this development 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 major challenge which must be addressed.
He said that 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 efforts across all levels of governments, as well as the private sector and development partners in this regard.
Agba said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had shown appreciable commitment to the eradication of malnutrition through the adoption and domestication of policies and strategic plans.