Thirty-eight per cent of children in Oyo State are suffering from malnutrition and stunted growth, Dr Kahijat Alarape, the Oyo State Project Coordinator at Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria said in Ibadan on Tuesday.
Speaking at an ongoing five-day capacity training for media practitioners and civil society organisations on scaling up nutrition in Nigeria, Alarape noted that the 38 per cent was far higher than WHO’s acceptable standard of 20 per cent.
She noted also that the level was high in spite of the state government’s efforts at reducing its nutrition burden.
In his remarks, Mr Olusegun Adio, Oyo State Coordinator of The Civil Society- Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), a coalition of non-governmental organisations, appealed to the state government to implement the Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition to lessen malnutrition in the state.
“The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey in 2018 revealed that Oyo State has the highest rate of stunting among children under-the age of five years in southwest Nigeria.
“The issue of nutrition should not be taken with levity as it plays a pivotal role in national development.
“The future of a nation will be determined by the nutrition orientation and awareness of mothers.
“The Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition will help to improve the nutritional status of children in the state,’’ he said.
“Malnutrition and stunting in early life can have adverse consequences on the child in later years.
“Stunting can lead to cognitive impairment and also affects the child’s learning capacity and productivity in later life,’’ he stressed.
Another contributor, Mr Ambrose Evhoesor, Project Coordinator of CS-SUNN said that Oyo State was selected as one of the focal states for the capacity training due to the high malnutrition statistics in the state.
“This training hopes to build the capacity of civil society organisations, the media and other NGOs to reduce malnutrition rates through public awareness and sensitisation.