A group of nutritionists has asked the Nigerian government to set up a National Council on Nutrition to address issues of malnutrition.

Malnutrition may not be everywhere, but in the northeast, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that about 400,000 children are at risk of acute malnutrition, and that is huge.

They need to get not just food but nutritious food to keep them alive, Chief Nutrition Section of UNICEF Nigeria, Arjan De Wagt, had warned.

“If they do not receive the treatment they need, 1 in 5 of these children will die. Cases of diarrhoea, malaria and pneumonia are on the rise, further endangering children’s lives,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake in a statement late last year.

The Nutrition Society of Nigeria wants the statistics to change and that is why they are asking the government to put in more efforts.

Officials of the group, led by the Deputy Governor of Kano State, Professor Hafiz Abubakar, visited Vice President Osinbajo on Monday.

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They detailed the concerns of Nigerian professional human nutritionists on malnutrition challenges, and how Nigeria was faring regarding the global nutrition targets, which is also part of the Sustainable Development Gaols.

Nutritionists believe that establishing a Council to handle issues of malnutrition will help reduce the risk and impending loss of lives.

Professor Osinbajo, however, told the group that the Buhari administration’s Homegrown School Feeding Programme was conceived to address problems of malnutrition, especially among primary school pupils.


He also requested that nutritionists come up with an action plan to effectively address the malnutrition challenges in Nigeria and promised that the government would consider inaugurating the National Council on Nutrition.

So far, 2.9 million school children in over 19,000 schools in 14 states are benefitting from the Home Grown School Feeding Programme of the government.

The government targets 5.5 million pupils before the end of 2017.

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