Minister, others advocate food fortification to reduce malnutrition
The Minster of Health Prof. Isaac Adewole has advised Nigerians to always consume fortified foods as means of reducing malnutrition and ensure sound nutrition.
The minster, disclosed this at the National Consultative Summit on food fortification organised by Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), in collaboration with National Agency for Foods and Drugs Administration Control (NAFDAC) and United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), held in Ikeja, Lagos.
Adewole said the summit took place at a time that malnutrition is estimated to contribute to more than one-third of all children deaths, although it is rarely listed as the direct cause. He said, “It is a condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ functions”.
“Of about 21 widely known micronutrients needed to maintain health life, five of them that are of public health significance include, vitamin A, iron, iodin, zinc and folic acid.
The acting Director General NAFDAC, Mrs. Yetunde Oni, noted that in a bid to safeguard the health of the nation, the agency in collaboration with partners has actively scaled up and strengthened food fortification initiatives through engagement in activities that substantially improved knowledge, attitudes and practices on optimal nutrition, especially as it relates to Micronutrients Deficiency Control, as well as, other related food regulatory activities.
Oni said malnutrition takes many forms, which include wasting and stunting in children, obesity and nutrition related non-communicable diseases. She added that the effects of malnutrition apply in all countries and one in three people on the planet; nearly half of the populations of all countries face these multiple serious burdens of malnutrition.
Major micronutrient deficiency disorders include, iodine deficiency disorder, diseases and iron deficiency, anaemia and others.
Country Manager, GAIN, Dr. Francis Aminu, informed that the gesture was to bring stakeholders in food fortification organisations together to discuss way forward on challenges facing fortification of foods in Nigeria.
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