NFCMS Report: Shettima Expresses FG’s Commitment to Improving Nigeria’s Nutrition Indices

Vice-President Kashim Shettima has expressed Federal Government’s commitment to implement the 2021 National Food Consumption and Micronutrients Survey (NFCMS ) report for improved nutritional outcomes in the country.

He made this known at the launch of the NFCMS report on Tuesday in Abuja.

Represented by Mrs Uju Anwukah, the Special Adviser to the President on Public Health/Focal Person, Nutrition, Shettima said the government would not only implement the NFCMS report but would also improve budgetary allocation to health and agriculture to address malnutrition.

He added that as the Chairman, National Council on Nutrition, he would drive the nutrition agenda through the pillars of decentralised coordination, profile raising, financing, scaling up nutrition interventions, data, and accountability.

He said “as we launch the report of the 2021 national foods consumption and multi nutrient survey, we reflect that beyond the numerical data lies the profound impact on lives, the potential for positive transformation and unity of purpose it brings to our nation.

“In all I have a firm belief that Nigeria will be placed in most exemplary nations with improved nutrition indices.”

Also, Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, said the government and other stakeholders would prioritise improving nutritional outcomes.

He added that “the report that we are launching today provides evidence to inform policies, programmes, implementation and learning over time.

“We are moving from faith-based policies and programming to evidence-based policies and proven programming.

“So, I want to assure you that we are committed to implementing evidence-based solutions to improve nutritional outcomes.”

Abubakar Kyari, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, who represented Minister of State, Aliyu Abdullahi, said the NFCMS is a step toward achieving food security and nutrition.

He said, “this report has further given us an opportunity for evidence-based policymaking programming, project and intervention development.”

Abubakar Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, said the report represents a significant milestone in Nigeria’s aspiration to address malnutrition for improved health of citizens.

Bagudu, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Mr Nebeolisa Anako, stressed the need for relevant stakeholders to have access to the report to inform evidence- based interventions and policies that would ensure food security and nutrition in the country.

He said “today’s event is to launch key outcomes of the survey, assess progress on ongoing efforts to strengthen the nutrition data value chain in Nigeria. It is also to start new initiatives and partnerships for data investments and follow up action.

“I, therefore, advise that we redouble our efforts to promote nutrition sensitive agriculture, improve the food systems and strengthen health services to ensure access to safe, nutritious, and diverse foods.

“We must also work to enhance nutrition education to empower individuals and communities to make healthier food choices.”

Mrs Ladidi Bako-Aiyegbusi, the Director and Head of Nutrition Department, Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, said the survey was conducted in the 36 states and the FCT, 290 clusters and 9,107 households.

Bako-Aiyegbusi added that children under five years, adolescents between 10 and 14 years, and women within reproductive age were also involved.

“We looked at the prevalence and distribution of different micronutrient deficiencies.

“The status of micronutrient intake and coverage of key interventions, we reviewed the existing national micronutrient strategy and how it is being implemented.

“What are the challenges and also we used the survey to set priorities and deploy programmes,” she said.

Dr Micheal Ojo, the Country Director, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), said the report provided data for the government and partners to plan and implement policies aimed at addressing malnutrition.

Also, Nemat Hajeebhoy, the Chief of Nutrition, UNICEF, noted that Nigeria has the largest number of malnourished children in the continent and second largest globally, while 32 million people in this lean season are going to be food insecure.

Hajeebhoy, therefore, added that the NFCMS would aid in addressing malnutrition and improve food security in the country.

Similarly, Laurel Rushton, the Lead Director, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and Nutrition Division (RMNCH+ Nutrition), USAID, said Nigeria falls behind in meeting nutrition global targets.

Rushton explained that the NFCMS report would drive evidence-based approaches and innovative solutions to tackle malnutrition.

Other highlights of the event were the joint unveiling of the NFCMS report and conferment of awards to notable organisations and personalities for their contributions to the success of the survey.