By Asmau Ahmad
A Non-Governmental Organization, the Save the Children International (SCI),has challenged media organisations to put nutrition issues in the front burner of discussion on development to provoke policy changes needed to address malnutrition in Kaduna State.
The SCI Country Director, Mr Ben Foot, made the call in Kaduna on Thursday, during a one-day parley with media executives in Kaduna state on the state of malnutrition in the state.
Foot, who was represented by the SCI Advocacy and Campaign Manager, Mrs Oluseyi Abejide, explained that SCI was concern with all aspect of child development from conception, delivery, growth and protection.
He said that nutrition affects the health, growth and intellectual development of the child and his productivity in adulthood, with accompanied consequences on economic growth for national development.
He, however, said that nutrition has remained at the bottom developmental issues under discussion, adding that even when on the table of discussion, funding has remained very low.
According to him, nutrition issues will remain irrelevant if the media is not talking about the disturbing indices of malnutrition and its adverse effect on the child, the family and the nation.
“We want you to see the need to intensify reportage around nutrition issues not only to inform and enlighten parents and caregivers on good dietary habit but also push for increase funding on nutrition.
“This is because experience with the media has shown that the way media reports nutrition situation inﬂuences and determines how decision-makers reacts or responds.
“Our goal is to ensure that every child survives, thrives and develops to exploit his or her potentials in the future,” he said.
Earlier, the Acting Field Manager, SCI, Malam Abdurrasheed Mohammed, said that the SCI is implementing a three-year nutrition advocacy project in Kaduna state aimed at influencing and informing policy changes around nutrition related issues.
“The three-year project (2018 – 2020) has a mandate of creating, promoting and sustaining enabled environment to ensure progress in the state’s efforts to reduce malnutrition as well as contribute in ending all preventable child deaths by 2020.
“The objective of the meeting, therefore, is to discuss the state of nutrition in the state to invoke the commitment of the media to give priority to nutrition issues in their reportage.”
SCI Nutrition Advocacy Adviser, Malam Isah Ibrahim, said that the media organisations were expected to carry out media advocacy to push policy makers to action.
“They can do this through generating evidence, write stories and hold programmes that will create visibility of the problem, create the needed awareness and push the government and its partners to act,” Ibrahim said.