Child malnutrition, a large burden to any country – Lai Mohammed

The information minister, Lai Mohammed, has decried the level of malnutrition among children across Nigeria especially in the North-east.

Mr Mohammed, who spoke at a media dialogue on child malnutrition in Yola, Adamawa State, on Wednesday, said child malnutrition is a large burden to any country across the world.

The media dialogue, organised by United Nations Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), is sponsored by the Department for International Development (DFID).

The minister said there is need for continued investment in child nutrition to safeguard the nation’s future.

Represented by the Head of Child Rights Information Bureau of the information ministry, Olumide Osanyinpeju, the minister said that to address the challenges faced by malnutrition in Nigeria, there is need for the creation of awareness and understanding of the challenges of resource allocation for food and nutrition security.

“It is imperative to combat malnutrition because it can cause death in young children particularly those under five years of age,” Mr Mohammed said.

He stated that there should be concerted effort to fight malnutrition in totality from Nigeria in order to ensure the attainment of desired results.

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Mr Mohammed said addressing nutrition challenges is one of the ways through which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) can be achieved.

He said investment in nutrition will help reduce the negative trend of malnutrition for healthy life of children across Nigeria.

“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.

He called for proper definition of strategic objectives of improving food security at the national level, community and household levels.

In his speech, the communication officer, UNICEF, Sam Kaalu, said the major objective of the workshop is to sensitise the media and Nigeria at large on the current situation of child malnutrition in the conflict affected area.

Mr Kaalu said government at all level need to work more with development partners to invest to end cases of child malnutrition for the future.

In his presentation, a nutrition consultant, Bamidele Omotola, said the insurgency in the northeast is the main driver of malnutrition in that area.

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He said the insurgency has resulted in high food insecurity, increasing spread of endemic disease, loss of livelihoods amongst others.

He noted that more partner-support will be needed to end malnutrition in the country, as the government cannot do it alone.

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