The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called for total implementation of the national nutrition policy to address malnutrition in Nigeria.
The Deputy Representative, UNICEF Nigeria, Pernille Ironside made the call at the National Council on Nutrition (NCN) Sub-Committee Meeting on Nutrition Awareness on Saturday in Kano.
She charged the state and federal governments to invest in nutrition through adequate funding and prompt release of funds allocated to the sector.
“The reason why Nigeria should invest in nutrition is that early nutrition programmes increase school completion.
“We must invest in nutrition because malnutrition is hampering survival and development of children,” Ironside said.
The deputy rep noted that Kano, Katsina and Bauchi States were among the nine states that contributed to stunted children in Nigeria and called for stringent measures to check the ugly trend.
She lamented that only 156 out of the 774 local government areas in the country were implementing extensive nutrition programme which is 20 per cent of the total number of the LGAs.
According to her, of the 12 million stunted children in the country, Kano State had 1.4 million children.
In her opening remarks, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed stressed the importance of the interactive meeting.
The minister urged the stakeholders to ensure effective implementation of nutrition policy in their respective states so as to achieve the desired objective.
Earlier in his remarks, the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II said the meeting was aimed to highlight the nutrition situation in the country with a view to finding a lasting solution to the problem.
He said the meeting would also give stakeholders the opportunity to discuss possible ways of addressing the nutrition crisis in the country.
The meeting which was attended by various stakeholders including representatives of the Ministries of Health, Budget and National Planning was held at the Emir’s Palace.