By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
An expert on nutrition, Dr. Bamidele Omotola, has revealed that investing in children’s nutrition offers some of the greatest opportunities for social and economic change in Africa.
According to Dr. Omotola, every single dollar invested in reducing stunting among children in Africa, there’s a return on investment of $16 which is capable of bringing Africa and Nigeria in particular out of poverty.
The nutrition Consultant, who stated this in Yola, Adamawa State, on Friday, at a media dialogue on child malnutrition with a theme: “Investing in Child Malnutrition for Future”, added that, about 33 per cent of Nigerians will get out of extreme poverty if the country successfully tackles malnutrition.
“If Nigeria overcomes the menace of malnutrition, 33 per cent of poor people will get out of extreme poverty and give their own children a better chance at life.” Dr. Omotola added.
A report by Brookings Institution had recently said Nigeria has become poverty headquartersb in the world, ahead of India.
He said malnourished children have zero potential to contribute to any country’s economy, adding that, fight against malnutrition has become imperative for Nigeria because any economy where 50 per cent of the children are stunted or wasted is doomed.
The nutrition expert, warned that children with severe form of acute malnutrition has nine fold risk of death compare to well nourished children. He said one in five children with severe acute malnutrition cases would die if treatment is not provided at right time.
He therefore called for investment to ensure food security to end extreme hunger by 2030, the second goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The media dialogue was organized by Child Rights Bureau of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) supported by the Department for International Development (DFID).
In his presentation, Dr. Martins Jackson, Nutrition Officer, UNICEF Bauchi Field Office, said, UNICEF, has reached, 1, 239, 802 children of age 5-59 months with vitamin A supplement, through the Integrated Basic Nutrition Response to the Humanitarian Crisis in Borno and Yobe including multsectorial pilot (INP+) projects supported by DFID since July 2017 til date.
“195, 000 pregnant women with Iron/Folate supplement, 38,700 children with acute malnutrition admitted for treatment. While 32,300 pregnant women received N5000 monthly and 6,500 community members were reached with Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), activities in pilot LGAs of; Maiduguri Municipal Council, Jere, Konduga, Bayo, Biu, Kwaya Kasu, Shani, Askira Uba and Hawul in Borno state.
“And also Tarmua, Gujba and Nangere in Yobe State respectively.
“DFID contribution, also procured a bit more than 200,000 carton of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) enough to covers 240,000 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).” Added.