HomeNewsVice-President Shettima Launches National Nutrition Improvement Plan

Vice-President Shettima Launches National Nutrition Improvement Plan

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Vice-President Kashim Shettima recently unveiled a comprehensive plan spearheaded by President Bola Tinubu’s administration aimed at enhancing nutrition across Nigeria. This announcement came during a high-level dialogue on nutrition held at the State House in Abuja, emphasizing the administration’s commitment to improving the country’s food quality, not just its quantity.

The event, themed ‘Faith Leaders as Catalysts for Enhanced Human Capital Through Nutrition,’ was organized by the National Council on Nutrition in conjunction with the World Bank-assisted Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) Project. Vice-President Shettima stressed the importance of this initiative, declaring it a “solemn pledge to safeguard our well-being and preserve the legacy for generations yet to come.”

Addressing an audience that included prominent religious and traditional leaders, Shettima described these figures as “prime cultural influencers” and essential to fostering a unified Nigeria marked by understanding, peace, and social cohesion. He highlighted their critical role in championing nutritional education within their communities, leveraging their influence to promote healthy practices.

President Tinubu’s commitment to integrating nutrition into Nigeria’s broader food security strategy was reiterated. The vice president outlined several specific targets, including providing support to pregnant and lactating women, ensuring the well-being of adolescent girls, and addressing the nutritional needs of children under five. These measures are crucial components of the administration’s vision to ensure that every Nigerian has access to the necessary nourishment to thrive.

Shettima underscored the significance of initiatives like ANRiN, which aim to expand nutrition interventions across the nation. However, he acknowledged that government efforts alone are not enough. The success of these initiatives relies heavily on the active participation and endorsement of community leaders. The Vice-President called on these leaders to integrate nutritional education into their regular interactions and gatherings, thus playing a direct role in improving their communities’ health outcomes.

“Your influence is indispensable,” Shettima told the assembled leaders. He assured them of the government’s commitment to actionable steps beyond mere discussions, emphasizing outreach to vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Acknowledging the collaborative effort required for this initiative, Shettima thanked federal ministries and partners like the World Bank for their ongoing support. “Together, let us stand as beacons of hope, leading the charge towards a healthier and more prosperous tomorrow for all,” he stated.

Also contributing to the dialogue, Senator Atiku Bagudu, Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, discussed how malnutrition and related challenges have historically hindered human capital development in Nigeria. He highlighted the various interventions and the robust institutional mechanisms in place to combat these issues, as demonstrated by efforts led by the National Economic Council.

Prof. Muhammad Pate, Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, also spoke at the event, emphasizing the gathering’s purpose as a call to action to tackle one of society’s most pressing challenges. He encouraged faith leaders to use their extensive networks to support government efforts against hunger and malnutrition.

Prominent religious figures, including the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Most Rev. Daniel Okoh, reiterated their commitment to the nutritional campaign. They promised to integrate campaign messages into their religious teachings, furthering the fight against malnutrition.

The event also featured a significant contribution from the 14th Emir of Kano and Chair of the Council of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Khalifa Muhammad Sanusi II. He spoke on the detrimental impacts of malnutrition and called for a strategic shift in attitudes and practices concerning nutritional provision, especially for children and pregnant women, highlighting the religious and moral obligations to support these vulnerable groups.

The high-point of the event was the launch of two pivotal resources: the ANRiN Sermon Guides and Faith Perspectives on Nutrition manuals. These tools are designed to assist faith leaders in incorporating nutritional advocacy into their teachings, thus broadening the impact of this nationwide campaign to improve nutrition and health outcomes across Nigeria.

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