Expert Says 68% Of Children Under 5, 58%  Women Of Reproductive Age In Nigeria  Anaemic

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By; ALEX UANGBAOJE, Abuja

As Nigeria is transiting to the use of Multiple Micronutrient Supplementation (MMS), for pregnant women, a Nutrition expert has said that 68% of children under 5 and 58% of Women of Reproductive age in Nigeria are Anaemic.

The Expert, Chito Nelson, Head of Nutrition Division, Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, revealed this in Abuja on Wednesday at a 2-day capacity strengthening workshop for Media on improving visibility of anemia reduction through scale-up of MMS in Nigeria, organized by Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).

The workshop is aimed at improving the understanding of media on the impacts of Micronutrient deficiencies adolescent girls in Nigeria. 

She said because of the effects of anemia in women and children, it is important that measures are taken to avert those consequences and reduce the effects which are dangerous to their health.

Chito, stated that anaemia could adversely affect maternal and fetal well-being of women, increased morbidity and fetal mortality. Could make pregnant women experiences breathing difficulties, fainting, tiredness, palpitation and sleep difficulties.

She added that it also increases risk of developing perinatal infection, pre-eclampsia, complication of labour and even death and postpartum cognitive impairment.

According to her, the use of MMS by pregnant women is a solution to some of the micro nutrients disorder in women during pregnancy because it has 15 vitamins and minerals, including iron and folic acid in recommended dosage.

“Iron plays a wide range of functions in the body like oxygen transport, physical and neurological growth and development, cellular functioning and synthesis of some hormones.

“Over the past 50 years, Iron Folic Acid (IFA) supplementation has been a core component of ANC for pregnant women around the globe, IFA are critical for the pregnant, However, they are not iron and folate are not the only nutrient that pregnant women may need to support their health and health of their child.

“MMS has 20 years of research provided clear evidence that MMS is more effective than IFA supplementation to prevent adverse birth outcomes. The Last 2 years has seen progress in MMS policy development and implementation research in most countries.

“Now is the time to accelerate implementation and address key issues such as ensuring effective and equitable coverage and a sustainable supply of high-quality and affordable supplements.” The Nutrition expert explained.

In his welcome remarks, CS-SUNN Executive Secretary (ES), Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo, noted that as a country, Nigeria is standing at the crossroads of an urgent and collective challenge; the reduction of anemia, a hidden hunger that affects millions, particularly women and children, across the nation.

“Anemia’s impact on health, cognitive development, and overall productivity is a barrier we must dismantle for the prosperity and well-being of our communities.

“Recognizing the power of informed advocacy and the critical role that media plays in shaping public discourse, this gathering is not just a meeting but a clarion call. It is an invitation to each of you to join hands in a concerted effort to amplify the message that the fight against anemia is winnable, and the scale-up of MMS is a scientifically proven strategy we must embrace.

“CS-SUNN, through this initiative, aims to empower you, our esteemed media professionals, with the knowledge, tools, and resources to effectively communicate the importance of MMS and nutrition interventions. Your voices will echo in homes, policy chambers, and health institutions, igniting action and fostering accountability,”  the ES said.

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