By; BAYO AKAMO , Ibadan.
Stakeholders at an advocacy meeting by Civil Society-Scale Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on scaling up nutrition in Oyo State on Tuesday alerted that the state has the highest rate of malnutrition in the Southwestern Nigeria .
According to the Stakeholders at the one-day programme,in Oyo state, malnourished, accounted for 73deaths per 1000 kive births of children of 5yrs old and an infant mortality rate of 59 per 1000 live births.
CS-SUNN Project Coordinator, Ambrose Evhoesor, while speaking at the advocacy meeting disclosed that nutrition in Oyo state has over the years been neglected, with 34.5 percent of children under five-years-old being stunted, 3.8 percent wasted and 19.9 percent underweight according to a 2018 NDHS research, which also finds that only 49.5 percent of children less than six-months-old are exclusively breastfed.
The Project Coordinator emphasized that ” adequate nutrition is essential to children’s growth and development,” saying, the first 1000 days of a child’s life (the period from conception to age 2) is especially important for optimal physical, mental and cognitive growth, health and development”
“Malnutrition is a condition that occurs when people consistently do not consume or absorb the right amounts and types of food and essential nutrients. One of the main indicators of childhood malnutrition is stunting, when children are too short for their age. Stunted children have poor cognitive and brain development which prevents them from reaching their full potentials in life in an increasingly competitive world,” he said.
The Project Coordinator added, “Malnutrition is caused by several factors, including lack of food, improper feeding and caring practices, economic and political structures, low status and lack of education among women, and so on.”
He pointed out that therefore, “a multi-sectoral approach is required for a reduction and eventual eradication of the scourge. As a matter of urgency, there has to be multifaceted, multi-stakeholder and multilevel intervention at scale in order to produce substantial outcomes in the short to medium term,”
Oyo State Chairman of CS-SUNN Adio Olusegun while addressed journalists said there is the need for prompt action on the issue of nutrition so as not to lead to malnutrition which could in turn result to inter generational problem for the state.To avert this, he charged the present government in Oyo State to stand up to the situation in order to positively salvage the nutrition crisis in the state for a healthy society by increasing investment in nutrition
Adio while speaking further seek government’s interventions in order to reduce the alarming statistics of infant and under five mortality in the state.
The Oyo state CS-SUNN Chairman disclosed that the purposes of the meeting was to encourage the present administration in the state to look into prompt and timely release of funds budgeted for nutrition in order to boost development in the state .