Saturday, July 27, 2013

Government worried over high level of malnutrition in Northern Nigeria

Government worried over high level of malnutrition in Northern Nigeria 
Ayodele Samuel and Ngozi Onyeakusi, Lagos

 The Federal Government yesterday said the northern region is worst hit with the menace of malnutrition which mostly affects children under the age of five.

The Minister for Health Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu in  a keynote address at the second Shared Value Media Workshop organised by Nestle Nigeria Plc in Lagos said the North West has 53% of  Stunting and wasting in the country.
While North Central has 44% , North East 49% , South West 31% South South 31%  and  South East 22%.
The Minster who was represented by  Deputy Director/Head, Nutrition Department, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Chris Isokpunwu  said  is really unfortunate that despite the fact that most of the food being consumed in Nigeria are being produced in from northern Nigeria, yet the region has highest number of malnourished children in the country.

"The FAO has said that there is enough food that can feed the seven billion world population, yet over one billion people are still suffering from malnutrition. In Nigeria, most of the food we consume are produced from the northern part of the country, yet the region has highest number of malnourished children under the age of five" Isokpunwu said.

He lamented  that about 41 percent of Nigerian children under the age of five are suffering from stunted growth, 14 percent suffer from wasting while 23 percent are suffering from underweight. He added that the problem of malnutrition has been less noticed because when doctors write their post-death reports, they hardly attribute it to malnutrition.

"When doctors write their reports after a child's death they fail to attribute it to malnutrition but will only indicate missiles, malaria, pneumonia as sources of death. This continues to undermine the ravaging effect of malnutrition which often gives birth to some of these stories," Isokpunwu said.
 He said the federal government is putting policies and guidelines in place to address the issue of malnutrition in the country
He said the review of the National policy on Food and Nutrition is under way.
Declaring the workshop open, Managing Director and Chief Executive Nestle Nigeria, Mr. Dharnesh Gordhon  Said one third of pre-school children are deficient in Vitamin A, while more than three quarters of young children and pregnant  women suffers from iron deficiency.
He said to address this public health problem and help reduce risk of under-nutrition, Nestle embarked on micronutrient fortification of its product.
  He said the company helps farmers to rub profitable farms while developing a sustainable supply chain for grains.
"we trained 2,500 farmers through capacity building programmes, we purchased 8,000 tonnes of maize, 5,900 tonnes of sorghum and 5,000 tonnes of soybeans from farmers in Nigeria."
this story was first published in Peoples Daily Newspaper  20 -June-2013

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