Dr. Chris Osa Isokpunwu of the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria making a presentation at UNICEF Media Dialogue on Child Malnutrition in Kano on Thursday August 6, 2015.WorldStage Newsonline– A United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) forum has drawn the attention of Nigerians including the government to the alarming rate of deaths- over 1,000 children daily through malnutrition in Nigeria.
A UNICEF Media Dialogue on Child Malnutrition in Kano on Thursday with the theme: “Spend More Money on Nutrition” came up with an #StopChildMalnutritionNigeria to draw the attention of the stakeholders across the world to the development, thereby creating awareness on the need to urgently address the problem,
The dialogue ahead of the release of the new figure on child malnutrition, facilitated by UNICEF Communication Specialist, Geoffrey Njoku drew representations from the civil societies, government and the media.
Speaking, UNICEF Chief of Communication, Doune Porter, stressed the need for media partnership so as to attract the necessary intervention to stop child malnutrition in the country.
Doune Porter, said a new figure on child malnutrition will be released by UNICEF soon, saying healthy and well-nourished children were needed for the future of Nigeria, calling on the media to sustain the partnership.
In his presentation on “An overview of malnutrition in Nigeria and its impact on children, UNICEF’s Chief Nutritionist, Mr. Arjan De Gwat, spoke extensively on the nutrition values of foods that he classified as macronutrients and micronutrients.
He said 55 per cent of child deaths were attributed to malnutrition, adding that malnutrition of the mother could result in disability of the child or miscarriage.
Mr. Arjan, said malnutrition could also lead to reduction in mental capacity and ultimately poor education of the child, advising mothers to embrace exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.
“Exclusive breastfeeding has the potential to save more children’s lives than any other preventive intervention,” he said.
The Coordinator, African Centre for Media and Information Literacy, Mr. Chido Onuma, made a presentation on media advocacy required to keep the issue of child malnutrition on the front burner.
He spoke on how the media can support advocacy for increased resources for nutrition programming.
Mr. Onuma therefore, charged the media to sensitize governments at all levels to increase resources to enhance child nutrition.
He also charged them to do more of features, special reports and editorials to sustain focus on child malnutrition in the country.