The National Economic Council (NEC), has appealed to States and Local Governments to invest more in issues relating to malnutrition, adding that they should key into the World Bank sponsored programme on nutrition.
The Council further welcomed an urgent call from stakeholders to halt malnutrition and related issues in Nigeria.
The council chaired by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), with membership drawn from Governors of the 36 states, the FCT Minister and Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, gave the advice after receiving a presentation on the problem of malnutrition in the country at its first meeting of the year 2020.
In his presentation to the council as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, stated that Nigeria records the highest number of stunted children in Africa, as over twelve 12 million children are stunted in Nigeria while 2.6 million are wasted annually due to malnutrition.
According to Sanusi, “malnutrition accounts for 53% of deaths among children as high child mortality and stunting are linked to deficiencies in key micronutrients; vitamin A, Iron, Zinc and Calcium, macronutrients; Carbohydrates, Protein, Fats and associated poor feeding practices, as well as overall nutritional status of the mother.”
Continuing, he said basic causes of malnutrition are poverty, socio-cultural, economic and political environment.
Also briefing NEC on Polio Eradication and Improved Routine Immunization in Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Emmanuel Ehanire, said Nigeria is on course to attaining polio-free status by June 2020, noting that the country has not recorded any new case of polio infection in the last three and half years.
He said there are incidences of Lassa fever in some states namely; Edo, Kano, Ondo, Ebonyi and Taraba resulting in 84 cases and 15 deaths, adding that the National Centre for Disease Control has been alerted and is on top of the situation.
Other presentations made to NEC were updates on Special Accounts of the Federation which include: the Balances on the Excess Crude Account as at 20th January, 2020, which stands at $321,393,190.35; the Balance on the Stabilization Account as at 21st January, 2020, is at N31,840,200,473.17.
The presentation also included the Balance on the Development of Natural Resources Account, which as at January 21st 2020, stood at N96, 991,981,055.54.