By Asma’u Ahmad
UNICEF’s Chief Nutrition officer, Mr. Arjan de Wagt, has called on Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to support the implementation of the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN).
NPFN is a 10-year blueprint for eradicating malnutrition for sustainable economic growth and development in Nigeria.
Mr. Wagt told newsmen in Abuja that the policy had potential to address malnutrition and extreme hunger among children, pregnant and lactating mothers.
He said that every MDA should partner with the relevant ministries to ensure its implementation.
Health Reporters recall that the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning had on March 10, 2016 reviewed the policy to address emerging concerns in the science, programme of food and nutrition activities in the country.
It was done with a view to scaling up high impact and cost effective nutrition interventions to stem the upsurge of malnutrition, especially among vulnerable groups.
Wagt said that nutrition was too important to be left in the hands of one ministry and urged stakeholders to support the effort of the Federal Government.
“NPFN is a multi-sectorial policy; it is not just for the Ministry of Health but all ministries. We can begin by thinking about introducing curriculum in primary school on how to teach children about good nutrition.
“Children can be good teachers themselves; a child who knows can also share it with his parent. That is what the policy is all about that every sector should do their part, fulfill their mandate to improve the nutrition situation in Nigeria,” he said.
According to the UNICEF chief, implementation of the nutrition policy is one of the areas targeted in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He called on the three tiers of government to step up awareness on exclusive breast feeding, noting that, such effort would also improve nutrition in the country.