Ogun State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Mr. Olaolu Olabimtan has advised relevant stakeholders in the health sector to develop a practical budget proposal for government’s consideration in its quest to adequately tackle malnutrition in the State.
Olabimtan, gave this advice while delivering a welcome address at the Dissemination meeting for Ogun State Strategic plan of Action for Nutrition (SPAN) 2020-2024, at Basic Trust International, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, noting that the move is critical to getting adequate government’s buy into the plan.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Mrs. Olufunmilayo Dada, the Commissioner noted that government is concerned with the hunger and child malnutrition, which according to him “are basic indices for assessing nation’s welfare.
He added that inadequate dietary intake and prevalence of diseases have been identified as the major cause of malnutrition, noting that the Nigeria Demographic and Health Surveys (NDHS) 2008, 2013 and 2018 had revealed that stunting rate among under-five increased from 17.4 percent in 2008 to 23.8 percent in 2013, and now 25.6 percent in 2008.
Olabimtan noted that the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN), has been inaugurated to provide a platform for relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies to harness and leverage on resources and opportunities provided by the State partners, to achieve the objectives and goals of the 2020-2024 Costed Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition.
Delivering a topic titled “A Case for Nutrition”, a resource person at the meeting, Professor Wasiu Afolabi, argued that malnourished children are susceptible to low productivity, low academic attainment and reduced work capacity, which in turn affects the gross national productivity of a nation.
Prof Afolabi said “if a mother does not have adequate nutrition, it affects the child and makes the child to start life at disadvantaged position.”
He called for rigorous action plan by government and stakeholders in the nutrition sub-sector, to target adequate nutrition for infants at the first 1000 days, adding that under-nutrition imposes high economic cost on family, State and nation, thereby, increasing the healthcare costs and future productivity losses.
Also speaking, the United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF), Focal Person for Ministry of Information and Strategy, Mr. Lanre Ogunyinka noted that the Ministry in conjunction with media outfits in the State had begun public enlightenment against malnutrition, advocating that respective stakeholders in the health sector should partner more with the media, to further impress in the minds of public, the pros and cons of malnutrition and exclusive breastfeeding.
Press Officer, Ministry of Budget and Planning