The United Nation Children Fund (UNICEF) has warned against cultural practices that may hinder effective nutrition and wellbeing of children in Nigeria.
Chief of UNICEF, Field Office, Kaduna, Dr Zakari Adam, gave the warnings during the inauguration of the Technical Evaluation Committee Agenda, for Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ARiN) in Ilorin.
Adam observed that there are challenges of cultural practices that may be detrimental in terms of development of children nutrition, adding that such practices have no bases in children’s nutrition.
According to him, it is not only the low income that may face problem of malnutrition but the wealthy may equally face such challenges.
He explained that poverty in this context is not only on income capacity but ‘about the mindset’, adding that people need knowledge and education to manage life.
“People may have money, but may not know about good nutrition,” he said.
The expert said there is need for synergy as regards overcoming problem of malnutrition in the country, adding that UNICEF will provide technical support and funding contribution towards various programmes with overall goal of accelerating child protection.
Adam explained that with the increasing socio-economic burden, there is resultant increase in the number of malnourished people, many of whom are women and children.
He reiterated the resolve of UNICEF to complement the efforts of the government by progressively collaborating and aligning the organization’s efforts to contribute to the implementation of Kwara State work plan and strengthen coordination around a commonr results framework.
Speaking at the inauguration, Dr. Rhoda Ajiboye, Permanent Secretary, Kwara Ministry of Health, tasked the committee to ensure success of the project in the state.
She enjoined them to be sincere, honest and transparent in the execution of their work, adding that the state government went through painstaking efforts to acquire loans from the World Bank to execute the project.
Ajiboye also commended UNICEF for supporting the state government in the area of children welfare.
Also speaking, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office, said that poverty is no excuse not to give good nutrition to children.
She explained that the watchword is to be ‘innovative’, adding that locally produced foods such as varieties of wholesome grains like corns, guinea corns, millets could be combined, and will produce rich nutrients for children.
The Nutrition Specialist also advocated keeping local chickens that may add to the proteinous needs of children as well as keeping home gardens for cultivation of vegetables.
Ezeife disclosed that UNICEF has been advocating nutrition-sensitive intervention projects such as community gardening, school gardening and home gardening among others.
Members of the Technical Evaluation Committee include, Dr Habib Lawal, Project Coordinator, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office and Mr Francis Fatoye, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).