FG, USAID other Stakeholders brainstorm to improve the state of Nutrition in the country.

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Ayo Ajayi from Abuja

The Federal Government of Nigeria and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Advancing Nutrition have held a National Nutrition Data and Results Conference to review the current state of nutrition in Nigeria and to generate fresh ideas for the future.

In her remarks, Pauline Adah, the project manager for USAID’s Advancing Nutrition initiative, stated that one of the organization’s mandates, “as USAID in general, not just for Advancing Nutrition, is to improve nutrition data that we have, increase data for evidence so that we could see the growth of nutrition in children in particular, and seek to find solutions to better ways to improve the nutrition data as it regards to SDGs.

She claimed that the Project had made significant contributions to the field of nutrition for many years prior to this and that it just received funding from USAID to further nutrition progress in Nigeria.

She Said, “ So far, we are a very huge contributor to all of the surveys that the results are being shared here today. We have the micronutrient survey result, the food consumption survey results.”

she also said it is only with statistics that the state of nutrition can be recognized and which areas need more work, adding that the results will help give nutrition initiatives in Nigeria a fresh face.

She continues, “ we are working currently with Bauchi, Kebbi, and Sokoto states and will be including Ebony and the FCT.” She assured that the documents from the conference will be disseminated and passed on to its member states, down to LGA level.”

The Honourable Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba who joined the conference via zoom, noted in his remarks that the government of Nigeria in collaboration with development partners has made significant progress toward expanding the availability of national and sub-national data to guide nutrition decisions.

Agba stated that Since the last National Nutrition Data Stakeholder Meeting held in October 2018, Nigeria has recorded remarkable investments and advancements along the nutrition data value chain despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

According to him, the 3-day conference provides another opportunity for Nutrition Stakeholders to review the milestones achieved in the nutrition chain and identify how best the results can apply to policy formulation as well as for decision making.

“It is worth restating that the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic which Nigeria has its fair share, has contributed to our challenges in addition to the impact of climate change and the security challenges that the country has experienced in recent years. These are pointers to the need for swift actions if we must meet the SDG 2 on Zero Hunger,” he said.

He said that the government and all stakeholders have shown keen interest in ending hunger through its investment in nutrition owing to the need to give every Nigerian an opportunity to thrive.

Furthermore, the Minister said the response of the current administration under the leadership of President Buhari has yielded human-oriented results.

He said, “Research has shown that investment in nutrition prevents undernutrition, builds human capital, and grows prosperity. Investment in nutrition far outweighs the cost while the delay and failure in addressing malnutrition have high costs
due to its negative effects which makes investment in nutrition a must.

“As part of our resolve to move the agenda of nutrition forward, we prioritised the implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition 2021-2025 in the National Development Plan. This is in addition to the diversification of our economy, now contributing significantly to our economy.

“It is important to also note that Nigeria has developed an implementation plan for 3 programmes selected. Part of many priority actions were implemented in 2022. This has been approved under the leadership of his excellency, the vice president of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo and it is the desire of the government and all stakeholders to support this implementation.

“I wish to reinstate that government’s response to the fight against malnutrition under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari has been productive and people-oriented. This includes the physical stimulus package, amendment to the medium term fiscal framework and 2020 appropriation act, and the establishment of national empowerment in ministries as well as the launch of the Multi-Sectorial Economy Sustainability.”

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