The Civil Society-Scaling Up nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has expressed concern over the possibility of a generation of ineffective leaders in Nigeria, who were malnutrition in childhood.
Mr Ambrose Evhoesor, Project Officer, CS-SUNN Abuja, raised the concern in Kaduna on Wednesday, at a five-day training for Civil Society Organisation (CSOs), Community-Based Organisation (CBOs) and media.
Evhoesor said that Nigeria has the highest number of stunted children in the world with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent due to impaired brain development caused by malnutrition.
He said that the National Nutrition Health Survey, 2018 puts the national stunting rate at 32 per cent among children under five years.
He added that the development was critical in the North West with 52.1 per cent and 44.3 in North East.
According to him, stunting is irreversible, meaning that the affected children will experience limited capacity in adulthood, this 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 are the ones that will take their place as Nigeria’s leaders tomorrow.
“They will be expected to accelerate the progress made by the current generation of leaders.
“However, they will not be able to do much considering that as over 30 per cent of them have impaired cognitive development, while others are severe and acutely malnourished.”
Evhoesor said that the training was organised by CS-SUNN, to strengthen the advocacy skills of participants on nutrition policy implementation and funding.
He added that the training was also to 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 the appropriate marketing and distribution of breast milk substitutes.
“It is also to encourage safe and appropriate use of commercially processed foods when necessary,” he added.
Also speaking, Mr Kunle Ishola, Project Assistant, CS-SUNN Abuja, urged policy makers to make concerted efforts towards 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.
Source – DEVELOPMENT DIARY