Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National planning has called on States Governments and other stakeholders to improve awareness on malnutrition to tackle the disease.
Ahmed made the call during the National Council on Nutrition (NCN) sub-committee meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
She said malnutrition was a major social challenge in the country that required collective efforts to tackle.
According to the minister, the Federal Government is committed to addressing this problem holistically.
Also speaking, the Minister of State, Prince Clem Agba said stunting was a major malnutrition burden in the country.
Agba said that the burden of malnutrition had become worrisome as its impact and socio-economic severity was being felt in almost every stratum of the society.
“The available records on the nutrition status serve as verifiable indicators to the fact that malnutrition is now a source of concern in most developing countries, including Nigeria.
“In spite the awareness and publicity around nutrition with attendant increased commitment from government at all levels to nutrition funding, there is a high rate of malnutrition that is unevenly spread across the country.
“And stunting is measured as chronic malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency generating the highest burden,’’ he said.
He said according to World Health Organisation (WHO), over 43.6 per cent children under five years suffer from chronic malnutrition and they either die or not develop to their full potential.
Agba said that the ministry would use its capacity as Secretariat to both the NCN and National Committee on food and Nutrition (NCFN) to pursue policies aimed at improving the nutritional status of the country.
The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, said the meeting was aimed at designing policies and priorities that would help the government address malnutrition.
According to him, the available statistics on malnutrition is worrisome and requires drastic and deliberate efforts of all concerned to tackle.
The Emir urged members of the committee to come up with meaningful contributions to address this national problem.
It held its first meeting on Aug. 28, 2018, where the sub-committee on awareness was constituted, and chaired by the Emir of Kano Sanusi.
It was charged with the responsibility of reviewing and finalising presentation on the nutrition situation in the country to the National Economic Council (NEC).
Edited by: Ese E. Ekama