A non-governmental organisation Save the Children International in partnership with Federal Ministry Finance, Budget and Planning have called on journalists to increased reportage of nutrition issues in Nigeria. They made the call at a training organised for journalists to sensitise and build their capacity on nutrition reporting in Nigeria as part of activities held to mark the 2020 Nutrition Week in Abuja, recently.
The Director, Social Development Department Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mr Abdulkadir Sa’adu, said that the training was a necessity for journalists to keep abreast with nutrition issues.
Sa’adu said that ministry in collaboration with Nutrition and Society of Nigeria (NSN) and relevant nutrition stakeholders since 2016 had been organising nutrition week to encourage healthy living through nutrition education and creating public awareness. According to him“The week is also a national platform to address nutrition issues affecting young children, adolescents, adults and elderly as well as nutrition in emergency situation. “At the end of the training, the media will acquire new knowledge on nutrition, disseminate correct nutrition information to the public as well as become nutrition champions, ‘’he said.
Besides, Policy and Advocacy Adviser, Alive and Thrive, Mrs Toyin Gabriel, said it was imperative to bring journalists on board on issues about nutrition so they could sensitise Nigerians to healthy living. She said this was because so many Nigerians lived or fed wrongly mostly depending on artificial food, especially for babies. “Statistics show that Nigeria is the second consumer of infant formula after China so there is need for the media to create awareness on the importance of breastfeeding,” she said.
Similarly, a consultant with the Ministry of Health, Mrs Chimay Thompson, said that malnutrition and nutrition-related issues continued to be of public health concern in Nigeria. She said that it manifested itself mainly as undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. She identified two major forms of undernutrition assault on the Nigerian child. She also identified chronic malnutrition on stunting whereby the child has low height compared to age. Thompson, however, said that investing in nutrition would promote growth and development ‘’because malnutrition has a high economic and health cost and a return of 16 dollars for every one dollar invested. Organisers of the event stated that the aim is to raise awareness of journalists on food security and nutrition topics in Nigeria and to raise awareness of the impact of malnutrition on the country’s health and economic wellbeing.