Rate of children with stunted growth in Nigeria rising - UNICEF warns
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) today warned that the rate of children with stunted growth in Nigeria is on the rise and that the current trend is delicate.
Speaking at a 'Media Dialogue on Child Nutrition in South West Nigeria', organised by the UNICEF in collaboration with Ogun State Ministry of Information and Strategy, held in Ibadan, UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Ada Ezeogu said 1.5 million children under the age of five in the South West Nigeria are stunted.
UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mrs Ada Ezeogu
Ezeogu in her presentation exposed journalists to issues around the nutrition status of children in Nigeria with fact and figures and warned that Nigeria may not achieve Sustainable Development Goal unless the situation was addressed and reversed.
She lamented that the stunting rate in he South West was worse than the that of South East and the South-South but better than the North and that the situation calls for more work by everyone, particularly the government, parents and all stakeholders.
In his keynote address, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ogun State, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye said there was need to ensure adequate nutrition for children.
Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ogun State, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye
He frowned that nutrition status of Nigerian children has not improved in the last ten years. He said the media Dialogue was aimed at evolving robust agenda for development, particularly on nutrition.
Adedayo said "It is fact a that human growth commences from the moment of fertilization or conception, till death, and proper nutrition is germane for this growth, which inadvertently determines the outcome of our life expectancy and the development of the society."
"A well nurtured generation, is sure to contribute meaningfully to the society, to engender development. Therefore, nutrition is a complex issue, which requires the participation and involvement of stakeholders at all levels, including the media and all hands must be on deck, especially now that Nigeria is at a critical stage of malnutrition", Adedayo said.
UNICEF Communication Officer, Blessing Ejiofor
Also speaking, UNICEF Communication Officer, Blessing Ejiofor said adequate nutrition is the right of every child and is key if a child will survive and thrive.
"UNICEF believes that journalists can help set the agenda for action against all forms of child malnutrition – be it severe acute malnutrition or stunting. This, the media can do by creating heightened awareness among leaders and citizens", Ejiofor said.
Ejiofor charged the media to do more to keep child nutrition conversations on the priority list of those that can act to reverse the ugly trend.