Vanguard’s roundtable: Stakeholders identify bane of child nutrition

By Morenike Taire & Funmi Ajumobi

LAGOS — PARTICIPANTS at a Vanguard’s roundtable on child nutrition in Lagos, yesterday, identified lack of access to information and pervasive ignorance on the right choice of nourishment as the major factor militating against proper child nutrition in Nigeria.

The participants included regulators and policy makers on child nutrition in Nigeria.

Marketing Service Director of Nestle Nigeria, Mrs. Iquo Ukoh, emphasised the importance of a synergy between the Federal Ministries of Health and Education to inculcate food and nutrition in primary school curriculum to build children’s taste in the right choice of food.

She cited the one-meal-a-day policy not implemented in most states due to various factors, including unavailability of government funds and corruption. Ukoh suggested the formation of non-governmental organisations to assist government.

NAFDAC speaks

Ogochukwu Mainasara, Acting Director of the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control, NAFDAC, who represented the Director-General of the Agency, said the Agency had commenced discussions with stakeholders on food labeling as one of its regulatory efforts to stop manufacturers from deceiving the public on the consumables nutritional values.

She cited the universal salt iodisation and fortification projects of staples such as flour to reduce nutritional deficiencies and learning disabilities as part of the projects of the Agency.

Dr. Chika Ndiokwelu, National President, Dietitian Society of Nigeria, stressed the need for parents to increase the amount of starch-based food instead of processed carbohydrate, advising parents to increase the amount of vegetables and fruits given to their children.

Participants

Similarly, Margaret Eshiett of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria, representing the Director-General, said standards had been harmonised to international levels and included children’s food, while taking into consideration local contents.

Other participants were Mrs. Umego Adaora, Scientific Officer, and Mr. Anyanwu Camillus, Surveillance and Enforcement Officer, both from Consumer Protection Council; Mrs Adu Morenikeji, from Consumer Advocacy Foundation of Nigeria, and Ms Flora Archibong.

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