Image Credits: UNICEF.
Ajeromi General Hospital in Lagos State on Thursday flagged off the distribution of over 200,000 units of micronutrient powder to mothers as part of efforts to eradicate malnutrition and hidden hunger in children.
The micronutrient powder was donated by UNICEF and the Directorate of Family Medicine and Nutrition, Lagos State Ministry of Health.
Nigeria has the second-highest burden of stunted children in the world with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent of children under five years of age.
Also, an estimated two million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition, but only two out of every 10 children affected are currently reached with treatment.
Speaking at the event, the Head of the Nutrition and Dietitics Department of the hospital, Mr Olusola Malomo, said micronutrient deficiencies has been an enduring problem needing proper attention in Nigeria.
“The prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency is estimated at 30 per cent and 70 per cent of children are anaemic.
“Infants and children are the most vulnerable to micronutrient deficiency given the high vitamin and mineral intake they need to support their rapid growth and adequate development,” he said.
Malomo said shortage or absence of vitamins and minerals in infants meal, particularly that of vitamin A, iron and zinc contribute significantly to morbidity or mortality in children under five years of age.
He, however, advised parents to inculcate the habit of including micronutrients into their children’s meals for proper and healthy growth.
The State Nutrition Officer from the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Mrs Olubunmi Braheem, represented by Mrs Olatundun Rufai, a Senior Nutrition Officer, said that micronutrients are not new in the market but the one to being shared today was a certified product.
She advised parents to make use of it as children are the leaders of tomorrow and the kind of food given to them determines their physical development.
Also, the Medical Director of the hospital, Dr Olufemi Orebanjo, who was represented by Dr Adewale Idowu, said it was important to feed a child the right meal in order to stop stunting growth.
Orebanjo said whatever a child eats right from the beginning of their lives helps them while growing.
He, however, urged parents to use the micronutrient given to them in their baby meals.
A traditional ruler in the community, Chief Sunday Oluodo, also advised parents to try all their best possible to feed their child the appropriate meal to avoid stunted growth and death of children in their community.
A pack of micronutrient bags shared with the mothers contains 30 sachets which should be administered to children within age six months to 23 months once daily.
The mothers were asked to always return to the hospital to collect for free.
The Micronutrient powder contains Maltodextrin, Tricalcium Phosphate, Vitamins, Minerals (Zinc Gluconate) Copper Gluconate, Sodium Selenite, Potassium Iodide, Ferrous.
The initiative was extended to only three General Hospitals in three senatorial districts of Lagos State.(NAN)