The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, Nana Fatima Mede has described rights to food and nutrition as the most basic human rights saying that all human rights agenda must accommodate issues relating to food and nutrition.
She stated this in Abuja on Tuesday while briefing the media as part of activities lined up to commemorate the maiden edition of Nutrition week and to draw the attention of government on policies affecting nutrition in Nigeria.
Speaking on the theme, “Nutrition, Key To Sustainable Development”, she noted that addressing nutrition is essential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) especially those related to hunger, child and maternal health, food security and education.
She said the ministry in collaboration with NSN initiated the idea of organizing the Nutrition Week in line with global best practices in order to intensify awareness on the importance of food and nutrition on child’s survival as well as its impact on development, productivity, economic growth and national development.
According to her, “Available evidence shows that getting the right nutrients at the right time is critical, particularly during the first 1000 days of life, starting from conception to the child’s second birthday.
Mede recalled that malnutrition remained the underlying factor in over 50 per cent or 3.1 million child deaths annually stressing that Nigeria is the second largest contributor to under five maternal mortality worldwide, in that 2 out of 5 children are not properly fed.
She informed that malnourished children tend to have lower Intelligent Quotient and impaired cognitive ability with resultant negative effect on their performance in school and productivity in life.
Also speaking, the Advocacy and Campaign Coordinator, Save the Children Nigeria, Mr Ifedilichukwu Ekenenwa called on the federal, States and local government to map out adequate funding that would lead to scaling up nutrition interventions in Nigeria.
This is even as he enjoined federal government to fully implement the National food and nutrition policy adding that if the 36 states government commit resources into management of nutrition that the indices would reduce drastically.
Ekenenwa said that the foundation is working with a coalition across the States and local governments that are focused on implementing nutrition adding that part of their mandate is to create awareness in rural areas on the importance of eating good food.
He enjoined the rural populace to take advantage of healthy foods within their environment to improve their nutrition.