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Religious leaders pledge support for nutrition programme

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Religious leaders in Nigeria have pledged their support to assist in improving the Maternal and Infant Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) indices in the country.

The leaders made the pledge in a statement issued by Mr David Lawal, Media Officer, Centre for Communication And Social Impact, on Monday in Lagos.

Lawal said the promise was an outcome of visits to the religious leaders by the Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) team working with CCSI.

He said that the religious leaders are the Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, Women Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (WOWICAN) and Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG).

According to him, the visit is to introduce the ANRiN project and its objectives, secure the support of faith leaders and have them advocate for nutrition and its benefits to the faith communities.

Lawal quoted Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, Chairman, Health Committee, Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria, as saying that the Catholic Church would provide needed support to the project.

“The Church’s door is open, and our committee will participate in all activities that would help reduce the high burden of malnutrition in the country,” Ezeokafor said.

Also, Dcns. Victoria Ihesiulor, National Chairperson, WOWICAN, said WOWICAN would work with the team as the issues raised on early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding and adequate nutrition for pregnant women were crucial.

Ihesiulor said that the group had been involved in such programmes.

“This advocacy is good as we are at the grassroots. Dealing with us is as good as dealing with the whole country as WOWICAN cuts across all the states of the federation,” she said.

Similarly, Hajia Rafiah Sanni, National Ameerah, Federation of Muslim Women’s Association of Nigeria (FOMWAN), expressed her pleasure and support for the programme.

Sanni said that appropriate nutrition during infancy and early childhood was essential to ensure the growth, health and development of children to their full potential.

The ANRiN project is a Federal Government initiative with support from the World Bank.

The project seeks to increase the availability and utilisation of quality, cost‐effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under five years of age in 12 high malnutrition burden states in the country.

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Oluwafunke Ishola

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