As Nutrition Society of Nigeria said seven million Nigerians, suffered hunger in the second quarter of 2020, due to Covid-19, contributing to poor nutrition, former Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has expressed dismay over the poor nutrition status of Nigerians, especially among children.
The former Emir, who expressed the concern while speaking at the 50th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) in Kaduna on Tuesday, described the situation as unfortunate and unacceptable.
Represented by a former Deputy Governor of Kano State, Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, Sanusi, who is also the Board of Trustees’ Chairman of NSN, noted that he was bothered and concerned about the high figures of malnutrition in the country which he described as “unfortunate.”
While noting that, sometimes the figure fluctuates between bad and worse, he challenged the conference, to bring out solution to the problem, saying that, “it is my hope that the conference will bring ways out of these problems,” he said.
Also, speaking at the conference themed: ‘Improving nutrition intervention outcomes in Nigeria through evidence – based nutrition data generation and dissemination; Kaduna State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Amina Baloni said, Kaduna in nipping the malnutrition among children in the bud.
The commissioner explained that, the six months maternity leave approved for female workers in the state’s civil service, was part of the state’s deliberate efforts to fight malnutrition to a stand still.
She said the Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s administration was committed to change the unacceptable narrative of poor nutrition and health indices in the state.
She noted that nutrition was the bedrock of good health and any meaningful development of any society.
She argued that, it was only a well nourished people that could guarantee an effective educational pursuit, economic development and the overall progress of a state.
This, she said, was part of the reason why the state government put in place certain policies, structures and programmes to improve upon the health and nutrition landscape that would “enhance the general growth, health and overall wellbeing of our people.”
For instance, the commissioner maintained that part of the programmes include government’s establishment of the Human Capital Development Policy Council with a Health and Nutrition strategic area for added focus;
“And government approval for six (6) months maternity leave for female workers in Kaduna as well as “eecruited 69 trained nutritionists for PHC facilities in Kaduna State.”
She said, “I feel profoundly honored and delighted to have been invited to serve as Chairperson for this very important occasion, which is not only the Annual General Meeting and Scientific conference of this esteemed professional body, but also marks its 50th gelden anniversary.
“I am further elated that the Nutrition Society of Nigeria chose Kaduna State out of the 36 States of the federation and the FCT to celebrate its Golden Jubilee. I believe that this gesture is an
endorsement of the commitment of HE Malam Nasir El-Rufai’s administration to change unacceptable narrative of very poor nutrition and health indices in Kaduna State.
“The Nutrition Society of Nigeria is the largest pool of nutrition professionals in Nigeria and is the strongest voice in nutrition advocacy in Nigeria.
“We recall, recognise and acknowledge with gratitude the numerous advisories sent to the State Government by the Society towards improvement of the nutrition situation in Kaduna State for example the intervention of the society which resulted in the employment of qualified Nutritionists in the State’s public service in 2015.
“On our part, we are determined to fight malnutrition to a standstill in Kaduna State. This is due to the realization that nutrition is the bedrock of good health and any meaningful development.
“In Kaduna State, the Government is critically aware that it is only when the citizens of the State are well nourished that they can be in good health with the guarantee of effective educational
pursuits, economic development and overall progress of our society.
“This why the government of Kaduna State has put in place the following policies, structures and programmes that will continue to improve the health and nutrition landscape that will enhance the general growth, health and overall wellbeing of our people.”
Earlier in his welcome address, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Dr. Bartholomew Brai, said more than seven million Nigerians suffered from acute hunger in the second quarter of the year (2020) amid the COVID-19 pandemic that ravaged the world.
The situation, he argued, necessitated the need for improved nutrition in the country.
He said the theme of the conference was chosen to refocus the nutritionists attention and efforts on the need to generate credible data from surveys and researches that could influenced policies.
He said, “we are having the this annual conference in the middle of the pandemic, the impact of which has been all encompassing: from overburdened to healthcare facilities, to weakened economic activities, the pandemic has made us more vulnerable.
“More than seven million Nigerians were said to be to have suffered from acute hunger in the second quarter of this alone
“This situation have amplified need for improved nutrition action in the country. We are in an era in which food, and MRE importantly, evidence – based nutrition interventions are more essential than ever.”