The International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH) has outlined significant gaps in knowledge about proper nutrition for children in the country.
This was revealed by the executive director, ISMPH, Mrs. Moji Makanjuola, during an interview on the sidelines of a dissemination meeting of the European Union-Agents for Citizen Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) supported project on ‘Empowerment of women and the prevention of severe acute malnutrition in the FCT’.
Makanjuola said heightened poverty, distrust for medical practitioners and facilities, a general lack of awareness about the state of malnutrition in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), inadequate ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) at health centres, among others were some of the hindrances to proper nutrition for children in the country.
She recommended the use of a multi-pronged approach involving the media, civil society groups, policymakers and engagement with the high-level executive and legislative arms of government.
The ISMPH boss stated that future projects on nutrition should be tailored towards sensitisation, awareness creation and women empowerment in the cultivation and use of locally available foods to produce nutritious meals for their families.
Makanjuola also recommended strong private sector participation, including research into local food practices, childcare and nutrition.
According to her, more women in rural or low-income communities should be empowered with skills for improved livelihood across the country.
She called on the government, mothers and other stakeholders to ensure the right feeding for children to tackle the menace of severe acute malnutrition in the country.
She stressed that Nigeria has “highly serious malnutrition problems” such as underfeeding, overfeeding and wrong feeding and, of these, “underfeeding is our focus in terms of quality and quantity”.
While stating that over two million children are severely acutely malnourished in the country, she said it is preventable when action is duly taken to feed them right.
According to her, “Get it right, we must. We need to protect our children socio-economically and emancipate them from this malaise by feeding them right.
“Government is striving to get nutrition right. Sadly, not enough to cover pre-schoolers.”
Makanjuola stated that a major source of malnutrition is poor, uneducated and unempowered mothers without knowledge of adequate, right and affordable food choices.
She revealed, though, that through the programme, 60 women in Kwali and Bwari area councils of the FCT were empowered to turn waste into wealth and improve nutritional knowledge.