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Malnutrition: 68% Nigerian children under 5 anaemic ─World Bank

Dignitaries at the presentation of improved Golden Morn

Isola Moses

As Nigeria struggles to reverse the ugly trend and huge burden of malnutrition through the promotion of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, World Bank statistics has shown that 68 percent of Nigerian children under age 5 are anemic.

Fifty percent women between ages 15 and 49 years also suffer from anemia, the Bank revealed.

Vanguard reports that in line with the Federal Government’s resolve, Nestlé Nigeria Wednesday, January 22, presented its freshly improved Golden Morn, a maize and soya cereal, now fortified with GrainSmart, in Lagos.

GrainSmart is a unique blend of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B5, Vitamin C and Iron.

At the Golden Morn relaunch, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé Nigeria Plc, said that the World Bank data on the prevalence of anemia in Nigeria showed no less than 50 percent of cases are traceable to iron deficiency.

Mr. Alazcon said, in support of Federal Government’s efforts at reducing micronutrients deficiency among Nigerians, “Nestlé has been nourishing Nigeria for over 58 years, delighting individuals and families with high-quality nutritious food products.

“We keep working to make our portfolio even healthier and tastier.”

The addition of GrainSmart, a serving of the new Golden Morn provides 25 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Iron among other key micronutrients, he stated.

Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, Head of Nutrition, Federal Ministry of Health, who alerted on the nutrition situation in Nigeria, said: “When children have anemia, it retards their growths, makes them vulnerable to diseases, impairs their capacity for learning, and also exposes them to infections.

“Women who have high iron deficiency are exposed to risk during pregnancy, so the government has taken a number of steps to address that.

“One of such is the allocation of iron in flour which is stable among others.”

Dr. Isokpunwu commended Nestlé for its contributions to improving Nigeria’s health indices.

“In line with her purpose of ‘enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future’, Nestlé is working towards enabling healthier and happier lives and helping the development of resilient and thriving communities,” said he.

It is “contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals 2 (Zero Hunger), 3-Good Health and Wellbeing and 17 -Partnerships for the Goal).

Speaking at the occasion, the Mrs. Karima, Director, Federal Department of Agriculture, who represented Alhaji Sabo Nanono, Honourable Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development, commended Nestlé Nigeria Plc for being a key stakeholder and partner of the Ministry in producing and supplying quality and nutritious products towards the reduction of malnutrition in Nigeria.

“The Federal Government is encouraging more private sector investments in the production and marketing of bio-fortified foods and other micronutrient-rich commodities.” the Minister said.

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