The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that the rate of children with stunted growth in Nigeria is increasing and delicate. UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mrs. Ada Ezeogu said 1.5 million children under the age of five in the South West Nigeria are stunted; she warned that Nigeria may not achieve Sustainable Development Goal unless the situation was addressed and reversed.
Ezeogu in her presentation exposed journalists to issues around the nutrition status of children in Nigeria with fact and figures; also she lamented that the stunting rate in the South West was worse than the that of South East and the South-South but better than the North and that the situation calls for more work by everyone, particularly the government, parents and all stakeholders.
UNICEF Communication Officer, Blessing Ejiofor also spoke; said adequate nutrition is the right of every child and is key if a child will survive and thrive. She said “UNICEF believes that journalists can help set the agenda for action against all forms of child malnutrition – be it severe acute malnutrition or stunting. This, the media can do by creating heightened awareness among leaders and citizens”.
She charged the media to do more to keep child nutrition conversations on the priority list of those that can act to reverse the ugly trend.
Ogun state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Otunba Adedayo Adeneye said that there is need to ensure adequate nutrition for children.
He said, “It is fact a that human growth commences from the moment of fertilization or conception, till death, and proper nutrition is germane for this growth, which inadvertently determines the outcome of our life expectancy and the development of the society.”
“A well-nurtured generation is sure to contribute meaningfully to the society, to engender development. Therefore, nutrition is a complex issue, which requires the participation and involvement of stakeholders at all levels, including the media and all hands must be on deck, especially now that Nigeria is at a critical stage of malnutrition”.