Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Lagos first lady, receives 'Policy on Food and Nutrition' documents, aligns with plan of action - ITREALMS

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The food and nutrition stakeholders in the Lagos State has formally presented a copy of the State’s Policy on Food and Nutrition as well as the Multi-sectoral plan of Action on Nutrition to the first lady, Dr. Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, reports 
ITREALMS.

They also called for the approval of the policy by the Lagos State Executive Council (SEC).


Stakeholders under the umbrella of the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in collaboration with the state Committee on Food and Nutrition in the Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget made the presentation to the first lady, during a one-day Nutrition Dialogue at the Lagos Sheraton Hotels on Monday.

Delivering a keynote at the occasion, Mrs. Sanwo-Olu who doubles as the State Nutrition Champion who was represented by the Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer, Massey Children Hospital, Lagos, Dr Cecilia Mabogunje, noted that the copies of the two documents currently awaiting approval of the State Executive Council, were well-received by her office.

She pointed out that her office would do everything possible to ensure it receives the desired approval.

The dialogue held with the theme: “Exploring Innovative Nutrition Policy Alliances for a Healthier Lagos” also saw Ministry, Departments and Agencies revalidating their readiness to implement the policies once Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s led Executive Council endorses it.

As said by Mrs. Sanwo-Olu, she totally aligned with the action plan in the documents which creates comprehensive framework that addresses the challenges of malnutrition in the state.

“The policy envisions a state where the citizens are adequately food and nutrition secured with high quality of life and socioeconomic development, contributing to human capital development objectives of the state via its development plan by 2025,” she said.

Noting that a recent UNICEF report indicated that Nigeria has the second highest burden of stunted children globally, with a national prevalence of 32 per cent for under five-year-old children.

According to her, an estimated two million children in Nigeria were suffering from acute malnutrition, lamenting that only about two of the 10 children suffering from malnutrition currently have access to treatment.

In addition, the first lady said that about seven per cent of women of child-bearing age suffer acute malnutrition.

“It is clear that any nation under the grip of malnutrition would find it difficult to break out of poverty and sustained economic development. This is why the goal of the Lagos State Food and Nutrition plan seeks to obtain optimal nutrition status for all residents with particular emphasis on vulnerable groups such as children, adolescents, women, elderly and groups with nutrition need is a step in the right direction,” Sanwo-Olu said.

The success of the school feeding programme in the state, she said, gladdens her heart in that the state has improved the nutritional status of pupils to enhance mental capacity and school attendance.

Sanwo-Olu said that to boost food security, the state must ensure effective storage technology and facilities.

She said that lack of storage facilities and basic preservatives techniques were some of the hindrances at the household levels affecting food security and malnutrition.

“These and others are critical to sustain momentum and build on the feats we have achieved in the policy on food and nutrition,” the governor’s wife said.

She commended the organisers for their efforts in designing a discourse that would propel workable solutions and stimulate synergies and actions to end the scourge of malnutrition in Lagos, and Nigeria.

The nutrition champion in Lagos equally commended CS-SUNN and partners for their vision which she said aligns with the state government’s agenda to enhance nutritional status of Lagosians.

Also, Mrs Simisola Otuyalo, Director in the state’s Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget, said that malnutrition remains a key health challenge in the state.

Otuyalo said that malnutrition impacts negatively on the wellbeing of citizens, drain state’s human resources, thus hindering adequate economic development.

She said that the state’s food and nutrition policy focusses on six thematic areas, namely food and nutrition security; enhancing care giving capacity, and enhancing provision of quality healthcare services.

Others, she said are improving capacity to address food and nutrition insecurity problems; raising awareness and understanding problem of malnutrition in Nigeria and resources allocation to food and nutrition at all levels.

Earlier in her opening remarks to the dialogue, the Executive Secretary, CS-SUNN, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, reiterated the society resolve to remain at the forefront of advocacy for good health, reducing malnutrition and ensuring accountability and implementation of nutrition policies and plans across the country.

Mrs. Eluaka pointed out that CS-SUNN is currently implementing Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNs) project, which paved the way for the pursuant of the state policy on food and nutrition in some six states including Lagos.

As at the time of this dialogue, only Lagos is yet to formally endorse the policy document which will be implemented in collaboration with CS-SUNN and international partners.

PINNS, she said, would like Lagos to get this policy off the shelf by midyear when its life span will expire. Mrs. Eluka and the current chairperson of Lagos State Committee on Food and Nutrition, Mrs. Otuyalo jointly presented relevant documents to the first lay on behalf of the nutrition stakeholders, especially in the state.

Chuks Egbune/DoP

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