The Plan International Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), has said that no less than 60,000 children in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and environs would benefit from its Home Nutrition Fortification Project.
The Head, Social Development Programme, Plan International, Mr. Laban Onisimus, said this on Thursday in Abuja at the launch of the community component of the 'Enhancing Infant and Young Children Nutrition in Nigeria through Home Fortification' project.
The project in partnership with the Nutrition International, Canadian Government and other partners is to provide Micronutrient Powders (MNPs) to over 60,000 children to improve their nutritional well-being.
He said the programme, which would last for nine months, is targeted at children within six and 23 months.
The programme is also cascaded in Gwagwalada and the Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) of the FCT.
"We are making commitment to make sure that the objectives of the intervention come to pass. We solicit for support from all stakeholders to achieve this and we are committed towards ensuring that we carry everyone along in the implementation of the project," Onisimus said.
On her part, the Minister of State for FCT, Dr Ramatu Aliyu, represented by the Special Assistant on Primary Healthcare in the territory, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, stressed the need to for adequate attention to the nutrition of young children.
She said that a good nutrition would help children learn better in school.
Also, Programme Director, Nutrition International, Mrs. Titilola Abolade, said the National Demographic and Health Survey 2018 puts Nigeria under five mortality rates at 132/1,000 live births.
According to her, the survey also reported 37 percent of children under five as stunted, 22 percent as underweight and seven percent wasted as almost 68 percent of children under five anemics.
"At Nutrition International, we believe Malnutrition is not just a chronic problem, it is an urgent problem. Millions of lives and voices are missing from our global economy and collective story when they don't have to be.
"So, every day, we look for better, faster ways to deliver the nutrition interventions we know work to those who need them most by working as an expert ally to government and partners. Nigeria has poor health and nutrition indices which has been further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on livelihood of the general population especially those in rural areas and urban slums (informal settlements)," Abolade said.
On her part, the Senior Programme Officer, Nutrition International, Mrs. Deborah Bennett, said that the target of the project was to reach 55,000 children from six to 23 months in AMAC and 4,200 in Gwagwalada.
The Country Director, Plan International Nigeria, Mr. Usie Charles Emmamuzou, represented by the Director of Programmes and Innovation, Jummai Lawan Musa, said that the project in conjunction with the Primary Health Care Board was to engage with stakeholders at various levels, share information for an understanding of the project deliverables; scope, implementation processes and roles of all stakeholders to ensure its success.