*Civil Society, Media Call For Adequate Investment in Nutrition
The rate at which malnutrition has continued to rear its ugly head in Imo State is worrisome as stakeholders have urged all and sundry to be nutrition-conscious to stay healthy.
This as details of the level of malnutrition among children in the State emerged at a seminar held in Owerri
Speaking during the one-day Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) Pooled Fund Project Dissemination Meeting of Policy Brief in Imo State held at Newton Hotel, Owerri, the Facilitators of the event, Ngozika Ogbonna and Ambrose Evhoesor revealed that during their intervention in the state, the organization discovered that 16.9% of children under five years are stunted (too short for their ages), 7.1% of children under five years are wasted (too thin for their height) and that 10.9% of children under five years are underweight (too thin for their ages).
Continuing, as part of the policy brief, according to World Bank (2016) every dollar invested in nutrition intervention would yield between $4 and $35 in economic returns, adding that if the government of Imo State improves investment and releases funds timely for nutrition specifics and sensitive interventions, the proportion of those who suffer from hunger will reduce by 2015.
According to the policy brief, if the government of Imo State invests adequately in nutrition, there will be increased exclusive breastfeeding, reduction in stunted children under five years and increased Vitamin A supplementation by 2025, stressing that this will happen when there is accountability and transparency in the funding process.
The stakeholders wondered from the content of the policy brief, what the funds budgeted for nutrition are being used as there seem to be little or no disbursement across the budget lines to ensure that the budget of nutrition are appropriately utilized for the good of all.
They urged the state government to pay attention to the rate of malnutrition ravaging the state.
The meeting which was attended by the management staff of ministry of Economic, Statistics and Budget, Education, Agriculture, Imo State Primary Health Care and Development Agency, Health, Media and Civil Society Organizations.
According to Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey ( MICS), they revealed that Imo State seems to house large population of malnourished women and children under five in Nigeria with an infant mortality rate of 66 per 1000 live birth and an under five mortality rate of 96 deaths per 1000 live births.