With over five million newborns in the country lacking essential nutrients and antibodies, the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, (CS-SUNN) has called for prioritisation and funding of nutrition services from the 1% Consolidated Revenue Fund at Primary Health Care Facilities in the country.
Secretary-general of the organisation, Yinka Lawal, made the call at a Media Roundtable on the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNS), in Abuja.
Represented by the Executive Secretary, CS- SUNN, Beatrice Eluaka, Lawal lamented that malnutrition remains a key contributor to infant and maternal mortality and morbidity, including poor cognitive development.
This, he said has adverse effects on the country’s productivity, adding that the 2013 National Demographic Health Survey (NDHS) revealed that more than five million newborns in the country lack essential nutrients and antibodies that would prevent them from diseases and death as they are not being exclusively breastfed.
He identified ineffective coordination of nutrition activities across the country, inadequate fund allocations and releases for nutrition and low uptake of preventive measures for combating malnutrition (such as Exclusive Breastfeeding and optimal infant and young child feeding practices) as some of the challenges bedeviling the nation’s nutrition system.
Describing the media are instruments of mobilisation, awareness creation, information exchange and dissemination, Lawal therefore pledged the group’s commitment to equip the media with useful and relevant information for thorough and factual reportage of nutrition issues.
Speaking on the overview of the PINNS project, CS-SUNN’s Project Manager, Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo, explained that the PINNS project was designed to strengthen nutrition systems in the country, to be more Result-driven, Effective, Serviceable, Efficient and Transparent (RESET).
Mr. Okoronkwo commended the federal and state governments of Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Lagos and Kaduna for their current efforts at combating malnutrition through health and nutrition friendly policies and plans.
He urged government to release and judiciously allocate funds for high impact interventions and to strengthen coordination of activities of national and state committees on food and nutrition to play their roles effectively as mandated in the National Policy on Food and Nutrition.
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