Health  

Foundation, AIICO take fight against malnutrition to Ibeju Lekki

Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Manager, AIICO PLC, Mrs. Abimbola Shobanjo, (left); Executive Director, Oladele Fajemirokun Foundation, Mrs. Lawumi Fajemirokun; and a beneficiary-mother and tailor, Mrs. Ajisafe at the Awoyaya Primary Healthcare Centre, Ibeju-Lekki, during an intervention programme called the Sustainable Malnutrition Intervention (SMALINT)

As a response to the ugly trend of malnutrition in Ibeju Lekki Local Government Area (LGA) of Lagos State, the Oladele Fajemirokun Foundation, in collaboration with AIICO Insurance PLC, has developed an intervention programme called the Sustainable Malnutrition Intervention (SMALINT).

SMALINT is an optimised feeding programme set up for children aged six months- five years.

Malnutrition, in all its forms, includes under-nutrition (wasting, stunting, underweight), inadequate vitamins or minerals, overweight, obesity, and resulting diet-related non-communicable diseases.

Speaking at the food demonstration programme at the Awoyaya Primary Healthcare Centre, Medical Officer of Health, Ibeju-Lekki LGA, Dr. Sola Tanimowo, encouraged the mothers to adopt locally available, cost-friendly foods in improving the nutrition profile of their children.

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According to the United Nations, improved nutrition is the platform for progress in women empowerment, health, education, employment and poverty reduction; it can lay the foundation for peaceful and stable societies.

Nigeria, however, has one of the highest burdens of stunted growth in the world. Under-nutrition is a long-standing problem with increasing visibility in Nigeria since the 1960s.

Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Manager, AIICO PLC, Mrs. Abimbola Shobanjo, commended the Oladele Fajemirokun Foundation on the initiative. She spoke about the state of some of the malnourished children and the importance of this intervention at this stage of their lives. She further pledged AIICO’s commitment to sustaining the SMALINT programme and promised to co-develop complimentary initiatives that will ultimately improve the welfare of underprivileged communities. Shobanjo urged other private sector organisations to promote such interventions that will make actual impact and meaning to low-income communities.

Executive Director of the Oladele Fajemirokun Foundation, Mrs. Olawumi Fajemirokun, thanked AIICO PLC for supporting the SMALINT programme, whilst revealing that four hitherto malnourished children had graduated within the first two-months of the intervention. Fajemirokun further revealed that following the success recorded so far, the programme would be developed into an all year rolling programme in order to reach more malnourished children on the waiting list and sustain the progress made. She noted that besides the daily protein-based food provisions for malnourished children, the sensitisation efforts of the SMALINT programme through food demonstration classes, community dialogue sessions and information handbills served as pre-emptive measures in the fight against malnutrition.

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Programme Manager of the Oladele Fajemirokun Foundation, Mr. Kene Egbue, revealed that there was a waiting list of malnourished children who desperately required such interventions especially around the riverine areas in Ibeju Lekki LGA. Egbue told journalists that over 15 ward health chairpersons were consulted every month to review the programme and encourage a wider and more equitable reach. He noted that economic profiling of the mothers of graduating children was conducted in order to develop proper cushion for these families as well as to ensure that graduating children do not slip back into malnutrition.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight.

WHO’s Fact Sheet on Malnutrition estimated that globally in 2020, 149 million children under five were stunted (too short for age), 45 million were wasted (too thin for height), and 38.9 million were overweight or obese.

According to WHO, around 45 per cent of deaths among children under-five years of age are linked to under-nutrition. These mostly occur in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, in these same countries, rates of childhood overweight and obesity are rising.

It noted that the developmental, economic, social, and medical impacts of the global burden of malnutrition are serious and lasting, for individuals and their families, for communities and for countries.

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