In the midst of increasing reports of malnutrition in Nigeria mostly in the northeast, an aftermath of over 7 years of insurgency, the government has launched a programme it calls mNutrition.

The Minister of health, professor Isaac Adewole, has said at the commencement of the programme that it is part of the Behaviour Change Communication strategy in Nigeria's National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition.

It is a project that leverages on technology to scale up the delivery of health and nutrition messages towards improved health outcomes in Nigeria.

After this programme was launched, questions were raised about what would be done to make sure the malnourished get food first (most important) before further information on nutrition, going by the demand of UNICEF for more food aid to be sent to the northeast.

Bounce News had a chat with a policy analyst, Dr Boniface Chizea, who commended the government for what he called a laudable initiative.

He said: "One of the core success strategies in management is the willingness and ability to innovate.

"You may innovate and the promise is not realised but certainly trying and failing in my opinion is better than doing nothing".

Isaac Adewole

Dr. Chizea described the initiative as a reminiscent of an earlier one initiated by the immediate past Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, which leveraged on technology to boost productivity through the creation of awareness regarding prevailing price levels amongst the farmers.

He pointed out that "the penetration of mobile telephony was remarkable in Nigeria today and therefore any scheme that leverages on mobile telephony is bound to have far reaching effect because as observed above the penetration of mobile telephones in the economy has surpassed all expectations".

Any Food To Fill His Stomach

"Some of the intended beneficiaries might have some difficulties coming on board but certainly this is a move in the right directions particularly as you are reminded of the impact of malnutrition in the future development and well being of the citizenry particularly as it impact on the IQ," he stressed.

The policy analyst, however, highlighted that for the poor, talking of nutritional content could be a waste of time, since he needs any food to fill his stomach.

He was also of the opinion that the government should independently identify development partners that would put some resource behind the project to obviate the challenge of scarcity of resources - mostly food, which is another aspect that is becoming a big challenge due to famine reported in some parts of Nigeria.

Arms-carrying herdsmen have plundered farmlands, looted yam bans, chased owners of farms away, while some farmers have also voluntarily abandoned their farms to avoid being killed.

The situation is gradually resulting in reduced farm produce getting to consumers, a situation that experts said is gradually leading to famine in some states.

Dr. Chizea, who believes the Minister and his team must have worked assiduously to make the mNutrition programme effective, stressed the need for effective implementation and monitoring of outcomes with a view to effecting corrections as developments dictate.