FG Will Prioritize Establishment of Nutrition Departments, Funding of Activities-Shettima

VP Shettima during an interaction with members of the Nutrition Core Working Committee who were at the Presidential Villa

*Receives brief on action framework for nutrition in Nigeria

Determined to accelerate the implementation of nutrition and related interventions in Nigeria, the Vice President, Kashim Shettima has said the Federal Government will prioritize the creation of nutrition departments in designated federal ministries and improved funding of nutrition activities, among others.

The Vice President stated this Tuesday during an interaction with members of the Nutrition Core Working Committee who were at the Presidential Villa to brief him on the critical challenges and potential solutions for scaling up nutrition in Nigeria.

Speaking after a presentation by the committee, the Vice President said measures will be adopted to frontally address some of the issues raised by the committee, particularly the establishment of nutrition departments in designated federal ministries; prioritizing advocacy campaigns on nutrition and funding of nutrition and related activities.

He said the ministries of Water Resources and Sanitation; Science and Technology; Budget and Economic Planning; Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development; Information and National Orientation; Education and Women Affairs, will be encouraged to expedite action in the creation of nutrition departments in their domains.

Sen. Shettima assured the committee that like he has done with other interventions supervised by his office, nutrition would be given priority attention, including the construction of a dashboard in his office to monitor and track the activities of stakeholders in the space.

On funding and advocacy for nutrition interventions, the Vice President noted that “financing is key in addressing nutrition and related issues hence I urge this committee to aim higher and set bigger targets and all stakeholders must be collectively engaged and involved in the advocacy campaign on nutrition in Nigeria.

“We have to come up with ingenious ways of improving advocacy hence every stakeholder must be involved, including the private sector.”

Speaking on the UNICEF matching fund programme for scaling up nutrition activities in the States, the VP urged state governments to key into the initiative, noting that improvement in the commitment shown by sub-nationals will be required to attract improved private sector support in financing of nutrition interventions.

Earlier in her remarks, the Special Assistant to the President on Public Health, Uju Rochas-Anwukah thanked the Vice President for being a voice and champion for nutrition and related activities in the country.

She emphasized the need for nutrition and related activities to be taken to the grassroots and highlighted the action plan developed by the committee which is anchored on decentralized coordination; accountability; financing; nutrition prioritization and profile raising; and scaling up nutrition interventions.

On his part, the Senior Health Advisor at the Nigerian Governors Forum Secretariat, Dr Ahmad Abdulwahab commended the leadership and commitment of the Vice President in driving nutrition and related interventions in the country, especially galvanizing the participation of the sub-nationals.

He said that in view of the challenges in scaling up interventions, the committee was recommending the implementation of the Strategic Roadmap for Transformative Nutrition and Food Security in Nigeria.

Also present at the meeting were the Head, the Food and Nutrition Division, Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs Nduka Chito Nelson; the President of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Wasiu Afolabi; UNICEF’s Chief of Nutrition, Nemat Hajeebhoy; representatives of the World Bank, Dangote Foundation and a Non-Governmental Organisation – Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria, among others.