In a bid to address severe acute malnutrition in the country, Vice President Kashim Shettima has inaugurated a high-powered Nutrition Core Working Committee (NCWC).
The critical body, dubbed the “intellectual powerhouse” by the Vice President, will spearhead the fight against hunger and malnutrition across Nigeria.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Nutrition Core Working Committee at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Senator Shettima emphasised the importance of coordination and collaboration with the National Committee on Food and Nutrition (NCFN).
“We are determined to upturn the negative nutrition indices of this country,” he declared.
The VP cited his recent visit to Tudun Biri village in Kaduna State where he witnessed the tragic plight of a malnourished child caught in the unfortunate military drone strike, saying “We have no excuse for poverty.”
Highlighting Nigeria’s immense potential for prosperity, the Vice President’s passion for the cause was evident, as he pledged unwavering support to the committee.
“You are our engine room,” he said, urging them to start by tackling the malnutrition crisis from the most vulnerable communities.
“Advise us, draw the roadmap,” he implored, emphasising the crucial role of the members of the committee as expert advisors.
VP Shettima expressed a resolute commitment to breaking the cycle of poverty and malnutrition. “Let us do something truly impactful for Nigerians,” he urged.
He reminded the committee members of their shared responsibility, even as he said, “We are all products of the public school system, and history will judge us harshly if we fail to change the narrative of this country.”
On her part, Special Assistant to the President on Public Health, Office of the Vice President, Uju Okorocha, noted that the incursion of nutrition in Nigeria is far beyond health.”
“The committee’s mandate extends beyond healthcare, encompassing education and the broader socio-economic impact of malnutrition.
“The committee will focus on a multi-sectoral approach, ensuring coordinated efforts across government agencies to deliver effective solutions and meet multi-sectoral action targets. Innovative financing mechanisms will also be explored to further strengthen the fight against malnutrition,” she said.
Okorocha emphasized the committee’s vital role, just as she said, “The team here has the knowledge that we can leverage on to move the needle on the issue of malnutrition in Nigeria.”
Committee members emphasized the need for a dedicated delivery unit within the Vice President’s office to track progress and hold all stakeholders accountable.
They also advocated the establishment of nutrition departments across all government ministries and agencies, both at the national and sub-national levels.
Members of the committee include representatives from the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, the World Bank Group, the Aliko Dangote Foundation, Nutrition International, the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, and the Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN).
Credit: Stanley Nkwocha Senior Special Assistant to The President on Media & Communications
(Office of The Vice President)