Nutritionists seek standard diet, care for infants in Anambra
The Coordinator, Civil Society for Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Anambra State chapter, Dr. Moses Ohamaeme, made the call yesterday in Awka, at a one day dialogue organised by the society in collaboration with Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria, Anambra chapter for healthcare workers, nursing mothers, women of child bearing age and other stakeholders in the state.
Ohamaeme in a lecture entitled “Adoption and Implementation of the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (NSPAN)” disclosed that Anambra has the highest rate of malnutrition among children under five years old in the southeast geo-political zone despite abundant human and material resources.
He said that malnourished children were at great risk to contact diseases, become disable and premature death, and advised parents to eat more of local delicacies which are naturally nutritious including fish, egg, beans, vegetables, soya beans, crayfish, while urging that nutrition studies be made part of school curriculum.
According to him, the newly born requires attention of both the mother and the father which the work schedule of most parents did not permit and called for extension of maternity leave to six months for women and 10 days paternity leave by the state government.
The doctor blamed poor nutrition on ignorance and poverty, bad feeding habits, negligence, and lack of attention and poor sanitation.
He called on Anambra government to adopt the NSPAN, which focuses on maternal nutrition, infant and young child feeding, management of severe acute malnutrition etc.
Also speaking, Dr. Philippa Momah, the Network Coordinator (CS-SUNN), said good nutrition could only be achieved if finance was available and called on the government and philanthropists to subsidize for the poor.
She also recommended that mothers should breastfeed their children for at least one year to encourage healthy living and ensure that families live in hygienic environment.
Dr. Joe Akabuike, Commissioner for Health in Anambra lauded CS-SUNN for their effort at educating the people on quality nutrition, adding that it was in tandem with the policy of government on maternal and child health.
He promised that government would implement the NSPAN, adding that the dialogue on nutrition is very important as it centers on food.