Mahmoud Pledges Commitment To Reduce Malnutrition

By: Freda Aideyan

The Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, Dr. Mariya Mahmoud, has pledged her commitment to reducing the spate of malnutrition in Abuja.

She gave the assurance, when representatives of USAID and UNICEF visited her in the office.

The Minister said stringent measures will be put in place with support from stakeholders to reduce the rate of malnutrition to its lowest minimum.

Mahmoud revealed that children under the age of five are mostly affected in the country and the situation should be changed.

According to her, “the issue of nutrition is a crucial area, an area of importance, it’s an issue of primary public health importance.

Her words: “This is something that we cannot play with, from Unicef and USAID and others. We really need to utilize this opportunity, We have to really fight malnutrition in the country with this policy that has been produced, which is well integrated from the national level to the state, local government and was very well integrated and now has been demonstrated”.

“Most importantly is the implementation. And we are all here on board to make sure that this has come to be a reality,” she added.

“We at least have a positive point on the issue of nutrition in FCT, and we are one of the leading city on prevention of nutrition. As we’ve mentioned, nutrition could be on the two edges. It could be the under nutrition, it could be the over nutrition. But mainly the main problem we are having is the under nutrition. And as we’ve mentioned, it’s a multifactorial and multi-sectoral issue that we need to come together”, she reiterated.

Also speaking, Nemat Hajeebhoy, Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF, stated that Nigeria has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest number of malnourished children in Africa and the second highest in the world.

She said despite the challenge there are ways out of the menace, and stakeholders must take proactive steps by investing more into the project.

“In the first 1000 days of life from pregnancy to the time a child is two years, we can change that narrative. But this really means that we have to make a full effort into going into it,” she noted.

”FCT is the center of the country, the center of excellence, And we have to show the way to the other states. So I hope that after today’s discussion we will have your full commitment, full buy in. let’s live up to the name, Hajeebhoy said.

“My request is we have to live up to the name of the state and say this is the center of excellence. We should have no children malnourished in FCT. We have the resources, we have the technical expertise, we have the commitment. So in the next two years, I’m sure we can change the narrative and go back to the Vice President and say we walk the talk”she said.