Experts discuss nutrition and development

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nutritionists met in Nigeria's commercial city of Lagos Wednesday to discuss nutrition and development, amid problems of large-scale malnutrition, poverty and hunger.
   Experts say malnutrition contributes to 52 percent of all deaths among children under five years, high incidence of low birth weight, stunting, wasting and underweight.
Nigeria launched a new food and nutrition policy two weeks ago.
Micronutrients are said to be prevalent despite various strategies to curb deficiency disorders in iodine, Vitamin A and iron.
   "We as professionals know that the immediate causes of malnutrition are inadequate food intake and disease precipitated by insufficient access to food at household level, inadequate maternal and child care and inadequate health services including poor water supply and sanitation," said Beatrice Eluaka, President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, which convened the meeting.
   "We also know the long-term results of malnutrition when children grow to become adults deprived of their full mental and intellectual capacity all of which have implications for national development," she said.
   Eluaka called for the creation of a national nutrition co-ordinating agency to create more visibility and provide a better focus on nutrition.
   UNICEF Country Representative in Nigeria, Christian Voumard, said although the country had achieved 98 percent salt iodisation, while large-scale fortification of flour with Vitamin A is on-going, two-thirds of Nigeria's population live below poverty line.
   "Household food security, quality of care, health services as well as environmental sanitation are inadequate," he said, adding that UNICEF would continue its efforts to ensure that the Nigerian child survives and develops to its fullest potential.
   Voumard called on nutritionists to free Nigeria from "all forms of inducement, no matter how subtle, from manufacturers of breast milk substitutes".
    Only 17 percent of mothers in the country practice exclusive breast-feeding in the first six months of their babies' lives.

28 november 2002 18:48:00




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