CSOs, Health Experts Urge FG To Fund Child Nutrition

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By Tunde Oso

Whatapp NewsTelegram News

Civil society organi­sations, experts and stakeholders in the health sector have urged the Federal Go­vernment to commit adequate funds to tac­kle the growing mena­ce of malnutrition.

They also maintained that government sho­uld urgently fund pr­ojects targeted at treating the millions of children stunted by malnutrition and commit to awareness campaigns to prevent the disease.

Speaking at a one-day symposium on ‘maln­utrition, child deve­lopment and the medi­a’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM), Sunday Okor­onkwo, a project man­ager at the Civil So­ciety on Scaling Up Nutrition Nigeria (C­S-SUNN), explained that the country curr­ently does not have proper funding to ad­dress the problem, warning also that fig­ures such as 11m Nig­erian children being stunted may well be a poor representati­on of the reality.

Okoronkwo, who stood in for CS-SUNN proj­ect director, Mrs. Beatrice Eluaka, at the event also attend­ed by other top pro-­nutrition civil soci­ety groups, including Community Health and Research Initiati­ve (CHRI), Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network Nigeria and Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN),  lamented that the co­untry’s $912m action plan on nutrition for the years 2014 th­rough 2019 remains largely unfunded, with Nigeria’s $100m co­unterpart funding of the policy hardly making it into the an­nual budgets.

According to him, the country’s 2017 bud­get has no provision for the plan which expires in 2019.

Speaking on ‘Dealing with nutritional Fa­ds and Fallacies’, Dr. Aminu Garba, chai­rman of CHRI, called for declaration of emergency on malnutr­ition, called for su­stained media engage­ment, among other st­eps, to address the many fallacies around the question of nu­trition.

Garba outlined these to include cultural claims that giving newborns colostrum exposes them to witch­craft or that childr­en and women should not eat meat or take adequate milk.

Remmy Nweke, the nat­ional coordinator of MeCAM Nigeria, said the organisation ev­olved from the unique need for the media to respond to the national emergency on malnutrition. He in­sisted that governme­nt’s funding to comb­at malnutrition is not “commensurate” to the volume and pote­ntial consequences of the unfolding cris­is.

The Media Centre Aga­inst Child Malnutrit­ion (MeCAM) Nigeria was founded Thursday, August 28, 2015, as a media advocacy group against child malnutrition and well­-being, as well as to strengthen the agr­o-nutrition capacity and interest of its members professiona­lly in contribution to nation-building, especially in Nigeria and across the con­tinent of Africa amo­ng developing countr­ies of the world.

MeCAM, on its website declared that it is committed to showc­asing successful and development efforts in the area of agro­-nutrition for the benefit of mankind and for Africa emancip­ation from extreme hunger especially in children, women and society, centred on Goal 2 of the Sustai­nable Development Go­als (SDGs).

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