Invest in nutrition to avoid risk of non communicable diseases,NGO tells Benue governme

A nongovernmental organisation, Civil Society – Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, CS-SUNN, Benue state chapter, Monday called on the Benue state government to make greater domestic investment in nutrition and implement mitigation measures to save lives and prevent the potential disastrous consequences of food insecurity and malnutrition in the state.

State coordinator of CS-SUNN in the state, Mrs Racheal Ityonzughul, made the call during an advocacy visit paid separately on the Benue state Director General, International Cooperation and Development and Executive Secretary, Primary Healthcare Board in Makurdi.

Deputy Coordinator, CS-SUNN, Dr. Priscilla Utoo, who made presentation for the coordinator, noted that nutrition is the bedrock of health and development, adding that better nutrition contributes to improved health both in children and adults as well as lower the risk of non communicable diseases.

She said comparative review of nutrition situation in Nigeria showed that Benue, despite being the “Food Basket of Nation” and Cross River has higher level of poverty compared to other states.

She said this has the potential of increasing the prevalence of malnutrition in the state with its adverse short and long term consequences if not tackled head- long.

She added that to avoid the ugly trend, more hands must be on deck with renewed evidence- based commitment.

“CS-SUNN is advocating for greater domestic investment in nutrition by the Benue state government and development of nutrition policies and plan such as establishment of functional nutrition department in the relevant MDAs beyond units, with increased budget line for nutrition activities and specifically, increase paid maternity leave for breast feeding mothers from t3) to 6 months,” she added.

Responding, the DG International Cooperative Development, Leo Viashima, commended CS-SUNN for the effort it is making to increase awareness on the dangers of malnutrition in the state.

He promised to work closely with the organisation to ensure improved budgetary allocation on nutrition as well as increment of the paid maternal leave for mothers from 3 to 6 months.