By; TINA PHINEAS, Yola
The Deputy Director/Head of Child Rights Information Bureau at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Abuja, Olumide Osanyinpeju has decried the high level of malnutrition among children under 5 years in Nigeria most especially in the northeast.
Osanyinpelu made the observation at a 2-day media dialogue on Child Malnutrition in the North East organised by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) with support from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and other partners in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
According to him, malnutrition is a large burden to the country as it causes death in young children under 5, pointing out the need for concerted efforts to fight malnutrition in totality.
He therefore, called for investment in improved child nutrition for the future, raising awareness and understanding on the problem in Nigeria and resource allocation for food and nutrition security at all levels.
The director maintained that 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 (SDGs), can be achieved, investment in nutrition will help reduce the negative trend of malnutrition”, he stated.
He opined that to reduce malnutrition among infants, and children, adolescent and women of reproductive age, there is need to improve food security at the national, community and household level.
He charge the media to raise awareness and understanding of the problem of malnutrition in the country and resource allocation for food and nutrition security at all levels.
“It is necessary that awareness be created among Nigerian populace especially for mothers; both lactating and non-lactating mothers to give – within the first six months of birth – 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”, he added.
Participating journalists were urged to help 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.
aOsanyinpelu also thanked UNICEF for their unyielding partnership to the Federal Government and immersed contributions towards upholding the rights of Nigerian children.
Also speaking, Samuel Kaalu, Communication Officer UNICEF Nigeria Bauchi Field Office, said the objectives of the media dialogue was to sensitise participants on the current situation of child malnutrition in the northeast and what UNICEF, partners and government are doing to change the situation.
According to him, UNICEF and partners needs media support for the fight against malnutrition in the northeast.