By Ijeoma UKAZU
YBTC News—In order to combat the level of malnutrition is the state, the wife of Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, has called for the implementation of the state’s Policy on Food and Nutrition.
Speaking recently in Lagos at a dialogue organised by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition (CS-SUNN) and Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget Committee on Food and Nutrition, who was represented by Dr Cecilia Mabogunje, the Medical Director, Massey Children Hospital, Lagos said that the Multi-sectoral plan of Action on Nutrition is a comprehensive framework that addresses the challenges of malnutrition in the state.
While giving her endorsement at the event which had the theme as: “Exploring Innovative Nutrition Policy Alliances for a Healthier Lagos,” she said that the two documents were currently awaiting approval of the State Executive Council.
According to her, “I totally align with the action plan in the documents as it aptly creates comprehensive framework that addresses the challenges of malnutrition in the state.
“The policy envisions a state where the citizens are adequately food and nutrition secured with high quality of life and socioeconomic development, contributing to human capital development objectives of the state via its development plan by 2025.”
The Governors wife said a UNICEF report showed that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children globally, with a national prevalence of 32 percent for under five year old children.
She lamented that an estimated two million children in Nigeria were suffering from acute malnutrition, adding that only two of the 10 children suffering from malnutrition were currently reached with treatment.M further stressed that seven percent of women of child bearing age were also suffering from acute malnutrition.
She said, “It is clear that any nation under the grip of malnutrition would find it difficult to break out of poverty and sustained economic development. This is why the goal of the Lagos State Food and Nutrition plan seeks to obtain optimal nutrition status for all residents with particular emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women, elderly and groups with nutrition need is a step in the right direction.”
According to her, the success of the school feeding programme in the state gladdens my heart that the state is improving the nutritional status of pupils to enhance mental capacity and school attendance.
Sanwo-Olu said that to boost food security, the state must ensure effective storage technology and facilities.
She said that lack of storage facilities and basic preservatives techniques were some of the hindrances at the household levels affecting food security and malnutrition.
“These and others are critical to sustain momentum and build on the feats we have achieved in the policy on food and nutrition,” the governor’s wife said.
She commended the organisers for their efforts in designing a discourse that would propel workable solutions and stimulate synergies and actions to end the scourge of malnutrition in Lagos, and Nigeria.
Sanwo-Olu added that CS-SUNN vision aligns with the state government’s agenda to enhance nutritional status of its citizens.
Also, Mrs Simisola Otuyalo, Director in the state’s Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, noted that malnutrition remains a key health challenge in the state.
Otuyalo said that malnutrition impacts negatively on the wellbeing of citizens, drain state’s human resources, thus hindering adequate economic development.
She said that the state’s food and nutrition policy focusses on six thematic areas.
According to her, they are food and nutrition security; enhancing care giving capacity, and enhancing provision of quality healthcare services.
Others are improving capacity to address food and nutrition insecurity problems; raising awareness and understanding problem of malnutrition in Nigeria and resources allocation to food and nutrition at all levels.
Commenting, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, said that the society had been at the forefront of advocacy of good health, reducing malnutrition and ensuring accountability and implementation of nutrition policies and plans in Nigeria.
Eluaka said that the organisation was currently implementing Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNs) project.
She said that the project was designed to strengthen the Nigeria nutrition systems to be more result-driven, effective, serviceable, transparent and efficient.