FG Says Nutrition Will Be Made Top Priority

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The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, pledged at the ongoing Nutrition Leadership Summit and Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) 2023 Pre-conference at Nixon Luxury Hotel, Abuja to make nutrition a top priority in the new development plan of the nation. He said the administration plans to include nutritional consideration in national development plans, which will be reviewed in the year 2025.

Earlier on September 5th, the federal government had Inaugurated the National Council on Nutrition and made a commitment to provide funding to tackle the challenges of malnutrition in Nigeria. “We will make nutrition a priority in the new development plan of the nation,” he said

Bagudu also mentioned that the stakeholders, particularly, the multi-sectoral MDAs from agriculture and health, information, budget and national planning are all involved, saying that, “when everybody is involved, what it means is that we are going to reduce the scourge of malnutrition in the country.”

According to him, “government is now more committed and has put nutrition on the front burner of its agenda, and we are going to provide the necessary funding. The enabling environment is there because we have all the policy guidelines, we have the strategies which they promised they are going to review so that we can reduce this bad status of malnutrition in Nigeria.”

President, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Wasiu Afolabi, spoke on the Nutrition value chain and acknowledged that Nigeria has necessary policies in place such as the multi-sectoral plan of action for food and nutrition in Nigeria, but the implementation, however, has always been a challenge.

“We have enabling laws, we also have other sectorial policies in health, agriculture but the problem has always been the implementation. We have realised that even when funding was provided, the capacity of the workforce, the leaders must also be enhanced so that the fund that is being provided can be utilised efficiently and judiciously.

” In the last council of Food and Nutrition September meeting, government specifically mentioned that each of the ministries and MDAs should go and identify means of implementing those directives. The society is working with all other stakeholders, especially, members in the National council on Nutrition to ensure implementation of that directive,” Afolabi said.

The President of African Nutrition Societies, and the past President of Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Ngozi Nnam, said the event was geared towards solving the problem of nutrition that the country is faced with.

“As nutrition challenges persist in Nigeria, it is essential to recognise leadership development as a fundamental aspect of the solution. As we all know, nutrition is foundation to national development, and this programme is focused on leadership to improve the workforce.

“Nutrition is the foundation for building strong and healthy individuals. It is only when we have healthy individual that they can make healthy contribution to improving and developing societies.

“We cannot talk about leadership without talking about improving the nutritional quality of our society at large, and when that is done, it is going to impact on what is on ground and help Nigeria attain the SDGs,” she said.

On the high cost of living that poses a great obstacle to peoples’ effort to eat nutritional food, Nnam said, “one thing the society has to do is nutrition education.”

According to her, overnutrition is trying to overtake under nutrition because the well-to-do in the society feel they have arrived and eat excess of their nutritional need, while the poor struggle to meet their needs. For her, an enlightenment campaign on what to eat, food combination and quantity, and moderation should be the focus of the NSN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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