By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
A child rights expert at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC), has called for a concerted effort in the fight against malnutrition in Nigeria, especially in the North Eastern part of the country.
Mr. Olumide Osanyinpeju, Deputy Director/Head, Child Rights Information Bureau of FMIC, who made call in Yola Adamawa State on Friday, at Media Dialogue on Child Malnutrition, with theme: “Investing in child malnutrition for the future”, noted that there is need for investing in child malnutrition for the future, raising awareness and understanding on the problem of malnutrition in Nigeria and resource allocation for food and nutrition security at all levels.
According to him, “it is imperative to combat Malnutrition, because it can cause death in young children, particularly those under five years of age. There should be concerted effort to fight malnutrition out in totality to ensure the attainment of desired results.
“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.
“Addressing nutrition is one of the ways through which sustainable development goals can be achieved, therefore investment in nutrition will help reduce the negative trend of malnutrition which has been ensured by the creation of this dialogue.”
Mr. Osanyinpeju, however, commend UNICEF for their unyielding partnership with the Federal Government of Nigeria, and for their contributions towards all activities being carried out to uphold the rights of the Nigerian children.
“I wish to specifically note the constant support of the Media and External Relations Section, and the consistent efforts at ensuring that the wellbeing of our children is promoted through the various interventions of the Section, one of which is continuous dialogues with members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
“I also wish to appreciate the collaboration of DFID and our sister Ministry in this stride- the Federal Ministry of Health and other line Partners here present who have worked relentlessly for the progress of this process.
“We highly acknowledge your priceless contributions towards promoting the health of Nigerian mothers and children, and in ensuring that the goals of the health strategies targeted at them are met through constant dialogues.” He said.
He charged Journalists to come together in leadership to take actions on malnutrition for a better growth and well-nourished Nigeria in the future, adding, “distinguished Media Personalities, we have to define the strategic objectives of improving food security at the national, community and household levels.
“To reduce malnutrition among infants and children, adolescents and women of reproductive age; to significantly reduce micronutrient deficiency disorders, especially among the vulnerable group and to increase the knowledge of nutrition among the populace and nutrition education into formal and informal trainings.
“On Air Personalities are encouraged, in your programmes to raise awareness and understanding of the problem of malnutrition in Nigeria and resource allocation for food and nutrition security at all levels. It is necessary that awareness be created amongst Nigerian populace especially for mothers; both lactating and non-lactating mothers to give within the first six (6) months of birth the breast milk which is enough for the infant, as nutrition is the key to national development.
“Adequate attention should be given to the nutrition of women especially pregnant women to reduce severe and acute malnutrition. Let us share the vision to see that every citizen has food that is nutrition secured by mobilizing people at grass root level to know their rights with regards to food by involving policy makers. Work with the government and see how to tackle the issue of stunting, wasting and obesity to its minimal level.”
Explaining the essence of the meeting, Sam Kali, UNICEF Communication Specialist, said, the idea is to sensitise journalists on the current situation of child malnutrition in the northeast and what UNICEF, donors, partners and
government are doing to change the situation.
“It is also met to solicit media support and buy-in for the fight against child
malnutrition in the northeast and define roles On-Air-Personalities (AOPs) could perform to help. To equip announcers, presenters, AOPs with key messages on nutrition.
“Commitment elicited from OAPs/participants on use of key messages on child malnutrition in their daily presentations OAPs-announcers, presenters, equipped with key messages on child nutrition. Strategic partnership forged with on air personalities on the fight against child malnutrition in the northeast.” He added.
The 2-days dialogue with journalists, organized by UNICEF, is discussing the management of severe acute Malnutrition in the North East, of Adamawa, Yobe and Borno and the intervention by DFID.