About 37 per cent of Nigerians are suffering from malnutrition, the Minister of state for Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed has said.
She disclosed this on Thursday, at a one-day stakeholders dialogue on the Reviewed National Policy on Food and Nutrition, organised by the ministry in Abuja.
Ahmed, who decried the high rate of malnutrition in Nigeria, said that children and the poor are the worst hit because of their vulnerability in the society, adding that one in every death of two children in Nigeria are caused by malnutrition, which she said is unacceptable.
‘‘There is a staggering statistics of 37 per cent of malnutrition in Nigeria, which also states that one in two deaths of children in Nigeria are caused by malnutrition and that is really very high. That has to be addressed in the very near future.
‘‘We have made some achievements but the achievement we have made are not good enough. because malnutrition is still a very fundamental problem in Nigeria.
‘‘We are hoping, with the support of our development partners, this review will find new ways and means nutrition issues will be addressed in a most cost effective manner, so that Nigerian people will be more aware of nutritional foods available in their communities to close the gap in our nutrition deficiency.
‘‘This policy, going forward will help us look at different ways at which our foods are processed by mothers, so that they can give a balanced meal to their children. We are working with quite a number of development partners at the grass root level.’’
As part of efforts to address malnutrition challenge in the country, the Minister said, ‘‘there are programmes that encourage mothers to farm at their back yards, and until we take it to that level, we will not meet the target.
On what is responsible for the high rate of malnutrition in Nigeria, she blamed it on corruption and high poverty rate in the country and promised that the present administration would address it headlong.
In his remarks, the World Bank representative, Mr. Foluso Okumado, said the issue of malnutrition has been at the front burner at the global level.
He stressed the need for Nigeria to pay more attention to food security and the fight against poverty to overcome the challenge being posed by the menace. Vanguard