Federal Government of Nigeria in partnership with World Bank has worked out strategies to address malnutrition in Nigeria.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole made this known in Abuja last week at a High Level Consultative Meeting with State Governments on Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria.
The Minister who was represented by the Director, Family Health Department, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi said that the project would be financed by the World Bank and benefiting states would provide counterpart funding, adding that states with the highest burden of stunting were invited with a representation from the six geo-political zones of the country. However, only 12 states that meet up with laid down criteria would benefit from the project.
Adewole said: ‘’ since we cannot cover all the 36 states at this initial stage, we have developed a number of criteria for state selection to ensure transparency. The first criterion is based on the burden of stunting. Today we have invited states with the highest burden of stunting in each of the six geological zones. The 12 states will be selected from among these 18 states based on the criteria that we have all agreed on today”.
The Minister noted that implementing the project would improve infant and young child feeding behaviors, breastfeeding, complementary feeding, increase the quantity and quality of nutrition services and ultimately reduce stunting in Nigeria.
Speaking on economic benefit on investing on nutrition, the Hon. Minister said that investing on nutrition would yield high returns.” One dollar invested in interventions targeting stunting would bring about 10 dollars in economic benefit; one dollar invested in anemia prevention can yield up to 12 dollars and one dollar invested in improving exclusive breastfeeding can yield as much as 35 dollars”., Adewole said.
In his presentation, the World Bank Representative at the occasion, Luc Laviolette said that the project would last for five years and each benefiting state is expected to contribute N250, 000,000 at N50, 000,000 per year.
At the end of the meeting the participating states agreed that official letter should be sent to the Governors Forum to enable them get firsthand information from the World Bank/Federal Ministry of Health on the project while the process of selection is going on.