… As 2 million children suffer sever malnutrition annually
The Federal Government through the National Council on Nutrition chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has approved a five-year nutrition action plan called the “National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition (NMPFAN) 2021-2025”. The aim is to implement interventions and programmes to address the issues of hunger and malnutrition across Nigeria.
In a statement by the Vice President, the plan is set to “reduce the proportion of people who suffer malnutrition by 50%”, “increase exclusive breastfeeding to 65%”, and also to “reduce stunting growth rates among under-five year-olds to18% by 2025”. This would be achieved by scaling up of priority high impact nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions. Osinbajo also welcomed suggestions for the adoption of these programmes to be driven by stakeholders across all levels of government.
The Chairman, Board of Trustees, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, stated that, commitment need to be demonstrated across all states in Nigeria for the plan to be successful, adding that taking the campaign to all State governors is crucial in ending hunger and malnutrition in the country.
According to UNICEF, an estimated 2 million children in Nigeria suffer from severe to acute malnutrition, but only two out of every ten get treated for it. In addition, only about 17% of babies are being exclusively breastfed during their first six months of life, and just 18% of children aged 6-23 months are fed the minimum acceptable diet.
With these current figures, it is important that the nutritional plan to reduce hunger and malnutrition across the country be adapted by all states across all five years. Even though there are no details yet as to the roles the agriculture sector will play, Nigerians have lauded this initiative, but have cautioned that a lot still needs to be done to make the plan achievable.