17 million Nigerians malnourished – FG


From Okwe Obi, Abuja

The Federal Government and Nutrition International, have disclosed that the country tops chart in terms of malnutrition in Africa, with over 17 million malnourished children.

This was revealed during the presentation of the home fortification implementation research using Small Quantity Lipid-based Nutrient Supplements, SQLNS,, yesterday in Abuja.

Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, explained that malnutrition has remained a significant public health problem despite huge investments and sensitisation.

Represented by the Director of Health and Nutrition, Dr. Binyerem Ukaire, the minister said the major causes of malnutrition in Nigeria included poor infant and child feeding practices, poor access to and consumption of safe nutritious diet rich in both macro and micronutrients, inadequate access to healthcare, water, and sanitation, and a high level of poverty, among others.

He said: “The Federal Government of Nigeria has made concerted effort in collaboration with development partners to reduce the burden of malnutrition in the country.”

On his part, Country Director of NI, Dr Osita Okonkwo, said malnutrition was not just a chronic problem, but remains a national snag that needs urgent attention attention.

Presenting the findings, Okonkwo said the implementation fidelity of the project was high with appropriate targeting of poor households with under-five children as beneficiaries and appropriateness of the intervention context.

He said caregivers’ perception is improving with increasing duration of the intervention and acceptability of the MNPs by the children and caregivers is generally high.

According to him, key drivers of adherence include perceived improvements in health, appetite, strength, and physical growth of index children benefits

He recommended that Integrated community outreach clinics should have demonstrable potential, capacity, and acceptability to distribute MNP and other nutrition commodities.

He, however, said supervision and logistic supply need to be strengthened to ensure the teams deliver the commodity according to plan.

“Similarly, improved engagement with other stakeholders such as community gatekeepers and household heads can increase acceptability and utilization of MNP in households,” he said.

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