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FG renews commitment to upscale maternal, infants nutrition



The Federal Government has renewed its commitment to improve maternal and infants nutrition in the country.

The Minister of State for Health, Mr Joseph Ekumankama, said this on Tuesday in Abuja at the launch of the Accelerating Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutritio, (MIYCN) project.

Represented by Dr Salma Ibrahim-Anas, he decried the slow progress recorded in maternal and infants nutrition.

Ekumankama government would upscale its collaboration with relevant stakeholders to achieve the goal.

He noted that the 5-year MIYCN project was been implemented by an NGO, Alive and Thrive (A&T), and funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The minister said the slow progress was from a survey currently going on supported by Acceleration of Reduction of Nutrition in Nigeria, which recently launched the preliminary findings.

He, however, added that the survey showed progress in immunisation coverage and family planning.

“We are still not yet there, we have also seen progress in immunisation coverage, family planning which is associated with child survival and nutrition of children.

“But in other aspects of nutrition, we are still lagging behind. The progress has been very slow,” he said.

According to him, malnutrition contributes to developmental delays, impaired educational ability, lifetime of poor health, increased risk of diseases especially chronic diseases and decline in human development.

While emphasising on the optimum requirements of nutrition to the growth and health of the mother and infant, he added that the MIYCN project would address the challenges and bring about the desired goals.

“We are not yet there. We need to double our efforts to ensure that we really put in enough time and resources, most importantly, we need to acknowledge that there is a problem.

“What we give to the children really matters and what the mothers eat at that time, also matters.

“I believe that this project will not only accelerate maternal, infant and young children feeding interventions, but it will greatly impact the nutrition narrative in the country by directly addressing nutrition issues,” he said.

On his part, Dr Victor Ogbodo, the Country Project Director, A&T, said the project would be implemented in Bauchi, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Sokoto and Yobe States to increase access to high-quality maternal and child nutrition services

Ogbodo said: “We are building the capacity of Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and strengthening primary healthcare platforms for efficient and integrated delivery of maternal and young child services.

“This is in collaboration with government, the CBOs and other nutrition stakeholders.”

Mr Likoma Julius, representing the Federal Ministry of Budget and Planning, urged the benefitting states to ensure sustainability of the project.

Also, Ms Laurie Rushton, representing USAID, while reiterating their commitment towards improving Nigeria’s health status, assured that the project would enable Nigeria achieve the World Health Assembly Nutrition target 2025.

Speaking on behalf of the focal states, Dr Tijjani Hussain, the Executive Secretary, Kano State Primary Health Care Management Board, pledged their support to the success of the project.

“The launch of this project comes at the right time that the states are making concerted efforts to improve nutrition.

“It will complement what the states does as it will improve our system and we stand to benefit from it.

“I wish to express our commitment and we will provide the needed support to make sure the project succeeds,” he said.

Mr Ifedilichukwu Innocent, the Chairman, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), said they would support nutritional needs of women and children, especially in poor and hard to reach communitities.

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Justina Auta

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