Malnutrition: CSOs attributes raising cases to ignorance

#stopchildmalnutritionnigeriaSome Kaduna-based Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) on Tuesday attributed the increasing cases of malnutrition in Kaduna State to ignorance.

The CSOs made the observation in separate interviews at a side line of a 5-day capacity building training for 30 CSOs to push for more intervention in nutrition in Zaria.

According to them, a larger percentage of malnourished children in the state was due to low awareness on effective utilisation of available ways to make a good nutritious meal.

They pointed out that people, especially in rural areas cultivates food produce that could improve their nutritious status, but often sell instead of consuming due to ignorance.

James Maigamu, the Coordinator, Community Trust Health Foundation Kaduna, said there is the need for huge investment in awareness campaign, particularly in rural areas.

He said that a larger percentage of the public were still unaware of the kind of food their body needed for healthy development.

“People only know that they need to eat, but don’t know what makes a good nutritious meal.

“There is the need for huge investment in awareness campaign to enlighten the public on what makes nutritious meal,” Maigamu said.

On his part, Bobai Bonet, Programme Officer, Aid Foundation Kaduna, commended the state government for the various interventions to address malnutrition crises in the state.

Bonet, however, said that not much was being done in curbing the scorch, because too much attention was given to treatment and little on preventive measures.

“We produce a lot of what our body needs, but due to ignorance we don’t consume them, we sell them. We are basically famers, as such, our children have no business being malnourished.

“Much need to be done to educate the people on how to make use of available locally produce agricultural produce to make a nutritious meal, “ he said.

He said that there was the need for the State Government to engage non-governmental organisations, CSOs and other relevant stakeholders to create the needed awareness.

He said that government should equally engage village heads, district heads and other community leaders to take the message to the grassroots.

Similarly, a Nutrition Officer with Positive Hope Support and Care Initiative, Miss Jessica Bartholomew, said the nutritious contents of a lot of locally produce agricultural produce remain untapped, particularly in rural areas.

She observe that many rural farmers grow soya beans, groundnuts, vegetables and rear chickens, and always ended up selling the produce to buy clothes for the children without bothering on proper feeding for the children.

“Your child is not healthy, he is malnourished and you sold soya beans for example to buy him clothes. What is the sense in that?

“People in rural areas erroneously believe that only those in urban areas have access to good diet. They don’t know that what they cultivate around them is equally good enough.

“This is simply ignorance and we need to bridge the gap, “she said.

Meanwhile, Adekugoe Olayinka, an independent consultant, said that the problem of malnutrition is multi faced; poverty, awareness, cultural and religious believes among many other factors.

She advised that multi-sectorial approach should be employed in addressing the problem.

The training was organised by Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) in partnership with Advocacy on Child and Family Health (PACFaH).

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