Panafrican News Agency

Niger launches national nutrition policy

Niamey, Niger (PANA) – Niger’s national nutritional security policy for the period 2017-2025, launched on Saturday, will contribute to the country’s socio-economic development, by strengthening human capital and reducing mortality rates as well as the cost of healthcare.

Attended by the UN deputy Seccretary General, Mrs Gerda Verburg, the coordinator of the movement Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN), and the deputy executive secretary of the NEPAD agency, Ibrahim Hassan Mayaki, the event was launched by the Nigerien Prime Minister, Brigi Rafini.

‘’The national nutritional policy, with its multi-sectoral aspect, enables us to tackle the multiple causes of malnutrition. With prevalence rates among the highest in the world, malnutrition is regarded as a private health problem in the African nation,’’ said the Nigerien minister of Public health, Dr Idi Illiassou.

Between 2007 and 2008, the major global crisis (on food, finance and oil), seriously affected Nigeriens, a situation that raised the need for more concerted effort to deal with nutrition.

In view of this development, the movement for Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) was set up in 2010, to work towards the strengthening of nutrition in 60 SUN-member countries, including Niger.

According to SUN, malnutrition caused losses of up to 16% of the GDP in Africa, saying that a dollar invested in nutrition brings 16 dollars in return on investment.

The national nutritional security policy and its action plan focus on eight main aspects, including implementation through a multi-sectoral and inclusive approach to identify the fight against malnutrition and accelerate the achievement of goals and the impacts on the improvement of the health sector.

In reaction to the presentation of Niger’s nutritional security programme, the UN deputy Secretary General, Mrs Verburg, said that the presentation was clear in the sense that it revealed details of all aspects of the policy.

However, she drew the attention of the government to the fact that malnutrition is a burden that can significantly reduce efforts made by the government.

To support her arguments, Mrs Verburg explained that a survey, carried out with the support of the Nigerien government, through the UN high commission to the 3N initiative, the World Food programme, the African Union Commission and the new Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), reveals that 7.2% of Niger’s gross domestic product is spent on the fight against malnutrition.

She said that the ministry of Livestock farming and Agriculture must increase food production so that Niger will be spared from malnutrition.

‘’We noticed that several ministries are involved in the fight for the eradication of hunger in Niger. This is a good thing. We have to continue this way to achieve satisfactory results," said Mrs Verburg.
-0- PANA SA/JSG/MSA/VAO 8Dec2018