National Council on Nutrition Approves a Five-year Nutrition Action Plan for Nigeria

Yemi Oshinbajo, YahayaBello, Babajide Sanwo-Olu

The National Council on Nutrition on Tuesday, December 15, at a virtual meeting anchored at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, approved a five-year nutrition action plan to guide the implementation of interventions and programmes against hunger and malnutrition across all sectors in Nigeria.

If effectively implemented, the action plan, titled the “National Multi-Sectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition (NMPFAN) 2021-2025, will reduce the proportion of people who suffer malnutrition by 50 percent and increase exclusive breastfeeding rate to 65 percent. It also aims to reduce stunting rate among under-five-year-olds to 18 percent by 2025 by scaling up impact nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions.

The Council is chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, while membership include: Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, Health Minister, Minister of Water Resources, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, development partners, organized private sector, Civil Society Organizations, and the former Emir of Kano, Sanusi Lamido.

According to Laolu Akande, senior special assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Office of the Vice President, Osinbajo welcomed suggestions for the adoption of extensive nutrition advocacy programmes to be driven by stakeholders across all levels of government and the private sector. The plan recommends the adoption and implementation of strategies aimed at improving the nutritional status of Nigerians by tackling under-nutrition and stunting, among others.

Kayode Fayemi, chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, NGF and Ekiti State governor, said his colleagues endorse the plan and assured of commitment of the governors to the actualization of the plan.

Sanusi Lamido, former emir of Kano, and chairman, board of Trustees, Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said it was time to take nutrition issues more seriously in Nigeria. He commended the personal commitment of Osinbajo to the issue of nutrition in the country and urged that the same level of commitment be demonstrated in the states too. “Taking the advocacy campaign to the state governors will be a crucial part of ending malnutrition in the country,” he reaffirmed.

Stakeholders at the meeting pledged their support for the implementation of the action plan. Representatives of development partners, and the Organized Private Sector, endorsed the adoption of the plan as commendable and called for a holistic implementation to address fundamental issues in the food system.

Akande said that other presentations made to Council include: the National Food Consumption and Micro-Nutrient Survey 2021, the Food System Summit 2021, and the presentation on Nutrition for Growth Summit by the Secretary, National Committee on Food and Nutrition, Chito Nelson.

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