‘Nutrition is key to achieving SDGs in Nigeria’
Society wants govt to urgently embark on national food and nutrition survey, tackle endemic issues of malnutrition
The nutritionists in a communiqué released at the end of its 45th annual conference and scientific meeting held recently at the Center for Management Development, Lagos, expressed concern that malnutrition in its diverse forms is still a problem of public health and developmental concern in Nigeria.
The theme of the conference was “Nutrition outlook -beyond 2015 MDGs.”
The conference, under the leadership of the NSN President, Prof. Ngozi Nnam, brought together nutrition scientists, practitioners, researchers, industry and development agencies who shared information concerning the Nigerian field of nutrition through plenary lectures, symposia, panel discussions, workshops, special sessions and dialogues.
Over 500 participants attended the conference from all the States of the federation and scientific exhibitors from different industries.
At the end of the robust deliberations, the Society also made the following observations: there is need for urgent action in form of a social movement, to tackle the endemic issues of malnutrition in Nigeria; there is urgent need for a national food consumption survey as the existing data is outdated; improving the quality of analytical data on nutrient composition of Nigerian foods is an issue that requires urgent attention; optimal maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation should be actively advocated.
The NSN also said it is necessary to recognise and integrate agricultural efforts to improve nutrition in Nigeria; and that Nigeria has enough qualified nutritionists to be engaged in Government, private and non-governmental organizations that could occupy positions meant for Nutritionists in government particularly at Federal and State levels.
The NSN President said in consideration of the observations, the following resolutions were made:
1. Nutrition should be a highly visible part of the SDG framework and requires higher investments than ever before. Nutrition is essential if Sustainable Development Goals will be achieved in Nigeria.
2. Nutritionists should take the driver’s seat as regards nutrition-related issues at all levels of practice and governance in Nigeria.
3. There should be increased effort for political engagement of individuals, societies and corporate bodies to bring about effective implementation of nutrition policies.
4. Government should employ core Nutrition officers to drive and coordinate all nutrition activities in Nigeria.
5. There is need to adequately establish and fund State committees on Food and Nutrition.
6. Nutritionists should be the focal persons for the bi-annual Maternal Newborn And Child Health Week and other related nutrition activities in Nigeria.
7. National Planning Commission (NPC) quarterly newsletters should showcase nutrition research findings for information sharing and knowledge.
8. A matter of urgency is the establishment of standard and quality laboratories and intermittent training for technologists to handle food analyses.
9. Government should as a matter of urgency embark on a National Food and Nutrition Survey, with partnering agencies providing support.
10. Members of the Society (nutritionists) resolved to rededicate themselves to work, knowing that government as well as nutritionists has roles to play in tackling the Nutrition challenges in the country.