‘Poor nutrition responsible for stunted child growth’
By; Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
Stunted growth in the first two years in life of children and increasing maternal mortality in women has been attributed to poor nutrition.
Zubairu Sulaiman, ActingManaging Director, Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC) stated this in his speech in Kaduna to ”a one day interactive meeting with Media Chief Executives on Nutrition” co-hosted by KSMC and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
He also said “45%of all under-five death is attributed to under-nutrition. A National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS) conducted in the 36 States and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja in 2013, showed that undernourished children have lower resistance to infection and are more likely to die from common childhood diseases.”
The meeting was in line with the Kaduna State government’s policy to improve the health status of children of 0-5 years and pregnant women. UNICEF made a presentation on the situation of Nutrition in Kaduna State which provided participants the opportunity to discuss the issue as it affects Kaduna State.
Zubairu who was represented by Atiku Abubakar, Executive Director, Kaduna State Television (KSTV), explained that the purpose of the meeting is to remind participants of the responsibilities of media operators’ contribution towards lowering the figures of under-five death due to preventable illnesses.
“We are all aware of the role the media played in the success recorded in the area of immunisation some years back and very recently, the polio eradication campaign in Nigeria.
“This meeting is a clarion call to extend the same commitment to the nutrition sector in Kaduna. It is my sincere belief that we as media operators will take up the issue of nutrition as a front burner in our news reports and programming by committing more airtime, not only to nutrition issues but to women and children programmes generally.” He said.
Speaking to journalists, Rabiu Musa, Media and External Relations Officer, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, noted that data has shown that there is malnutrition in every state and the Federal Capital Territory in Nigeria, but more prevalent in the Sahel states in the northern part of the country.
He expressed confidence on the Malam Nasir El-Rufai led government’s commitment in tackling malnutrition in the state and also pledged UNICEF’S continued partnership with the state government, adding “we have had a long time partnership with the media, we have no other partners that can reach out to the people effectively and efficiently like the media.
“So every work we do in UNICEF, we want to reach the beneficiaries or people affected or those concerned with the issues UNICEF is providing intervention support, and we believe one of the strategic means and avenue to reaching out to the people with key messages is through the media.”
In his remarks, the Managing Director, Nagarta Radio, Alhaji Yusuf Saulawa, commended UNICEF for its cooperation with the media, saying “UNICEF stands out among all international donors in its attention to the electronic media especially the radio medium.
“Most organisations tend to be giving more attention to the print media rather than the electronic, and you know in Northern Nigeria, to be able to reach the masses you need the radio. So we will continue to accord UNICEF the needed attention.”
The meeting came to a close with a five agreed action points being a commitment by the media in the best interest of children in Kaduna state which has a convergence approach to properly tackle malnutrition in the state.