Experts want better funding for programmes on micronutrients deficiency

Say Three Million Children Die Of Vitamin A Deficiency
The Executive Secretary, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition In Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Beatrice Eluaka, has called on government at all levels to release funds for effective implementation of various programmes addressing micronutrients deficiency in the country.

The Deputy Director and Head, Micronutrition Deficiency Control (MNDC), Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Mr. Uruakpa John, said micronutrients are required in small amounts for proper growth and development.

He said: “Micronutrient deficiency in the body comes with greater consequences such as higher morbidity, higher mortality (in children), lower cognitive ability, lower work productivity, impaired reproduction and impaired growth.”

“ Three million children die because of vitamin A deficiency.

Vitamin A deficiency is cause of total blindness in developing countries. Two billion people are iron deficient, 58 per cent of pregnant women and 38 per cent of children are anaemic.”

John said the ministry has guidelines on dietary diversification, supplementation, food fortification, biofortification and deworming. “The
MNDC guideline highlighted water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions as keys for prevention of infections. More investment is required in the area of micronutrient deficiency,” he said.

Also, Mr. Ukpoju Adam of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), said the underlying causes of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiency are lack of access to nutritious foods, lack of cash income, limited livelihood opportunities, inadequate care and feeding practices, poor knowledge on diet diversity and nutritious diets.”

He said ways to control and prevent micronutrient is by promoting good agricultural practices, scaling up the use of modern drying and storage techniques and technologies, development of a national afloaxin control initiative and food products with improved nutritional attributes, ensuring schools and workplaces offer healthier meals, promoting positive attitude and behavioural change.