CSOs Call For Establishment Of Nutrition Departments In Relevant MDAs

By Alice Etuka, Abuja

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The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) and the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) have called on President Bola Tinubu to cite departments of Nutrition in relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies across the nation.

They made the call on Tuesday, May 28, 2024 at a media roundtable on Establishment of Nutrition Departments and it’s impact on Nutrition Coordination, Funding and Policy Implementation held in Abuja.

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According to the Nutritionists, food insecurity and malnutrition remained the major concern in Nigeria currently, adding that 26.5 million Nigerians were projected to be food in-secure in 2024.

“The conflict-affected Borno, Adamawa, and Yobe (BAY) states are worst hit,
a multi-sectoral approach with central coordination was essential to addressing the complex nature of malnutrition

“Malnutrition is a multifaceted problem that requires the involvement of all government sectors.

“It is important for each sector to implement programs according to its mandate and in line with the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and the Multi-sectoral Plan of Acton for its implementation”, they said.

In his presentation, National Coordinator of Academic and Research Network for Scaling up nutrition in Nigeria, Prof. Kola Anigo said there was need to sustain the effective coordination mechanism put in place, ensure a transparent system to unlock funding, timely release of government allocated funding and utilisation.

Anigo further stated that there was need to cultivate an enabling environment that would help maintain current political will to ensure nutrition security.

Some of the ministries that he said needed Departments of Nutrition were; Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Federal Ministry of Agriculture, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency (NPHCDA), Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning.

On his part, Nutrition Consultant, Dr. Davis Omotola argued that it was not enough to create departments of Nutrition, “We need to demonstrate that we as a country care for the people. How many of our women are counselled on Nutrition? Why are they not counselled on Nutrition? Because of paucity of funds. How many of the children that require vitamin A receive vitamin A, why are they not receiving it? We have enough capsules in the country, why are they not receiving it?”, he asked.

Dr. Omotola added that the nutrition department was a vehicle to get government to increase funding for nutrition in the country. He therefore noted that those who refused to create nutrition departments did not have the understanding of its benefit and therefore consistent education was key.

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