The wife of the Enugu State Governor, Mrs. Monica Ugwuanyi, has stressed the need for adequate nutrition for women and children in the state to improve child and maternal health as well as reduce the exposure risk to chronic diseases.
Mrs. Ugwuanyi made the call during the domestication of the 2016 Food and Nutrition Policy, plus Finalizing the Multi-sectoral Costed Strategic Plan of Action Agenda, organized by Enugu State Food and Nutrition Committee (SCFN), at Nike Lake Resort Enugu.
The Enugu governor’s wife disclosed that because of the outbreak of Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19), a lot of sectors have sidelined existing structures that champion nutrition and food security.
She therefore pointed out that it is more critical now than ever before for multi-sectoral nutrition actors to take and support key actions to protect the nutritionally vulnerable groups “given the importance of nutrition in national development”.
Mrs. Ugwuanyi maintained that “malnutrition has been a public health problem especially the hard to reach areas and underserved communities in Enugu State” adding that “this is more worrisome in pregnant women and children under the age of five”.
The Enugu State First Lady who revealed that the first 1,000 days of life is the most important days of an infant, starting from the point of conception to two years, advised that better nutrition for women, children and adolescents should underpin the state’s push to achieve the sustainable Development Goals.
According to her, “malnutrition affects the wellbeing of the people; it drains the state of quality human capital and hinders economic and social development. Beyond economic growth, a whole lot of diseases are avoided when we reduce stunting rate within the first 1,000 days of life”.
While thanking the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) for the initiative and the Enugu State Government for constituting and inaugurating the Enugu State Committee on Food and Nutrition with the aim of domesticating the national policy in the state, Mrs. Ugwuanyi urged members of the committee to put in their best to help the state and the nation to achieve the policy’s noble objectives “as quickly as possible”.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Planning, Mr. Casmir Ugwu, commended Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for his display of political will by inaugurating the committee and his commitment in actualizing the national policy.
In his goodwill message, the Chief Field Officer, UNICEF Enugu, Dr. Conteh Ibrahim, pledged UNICEF’s continuous support to Enugu State and called for enhanced collaboration to check malnutrition in children and women.
The occasion was also attended by the State Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Dr. David O. Ugwunta, Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Matthew Idu and their Gender Affairs and Social Development counterpart, Hon. Princess Peace Nnaji, among others.