(thetidenews)- - Nigeria ranks amongst the world’s top ten countries with the largest number of underweight children with an estimated six million under-five who are underweight if the new statistics released by the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is anything to go by.
To combat malnutrition, the federal government has adopted seven new strategies. The National Planning Commission through the National Committee on Food and Nutrition (NCFN) in collaboration with UNICEF has identified improving food security through programmes and projects in both agricultural and non-agricultural sectors to increase household income, especially in the poorer cadre of the population.
NCFN, the main basis for the co-ordination and harmonisation of all food and nutrition related policies and programme in the country is to foster care-givers capacity base by promoting optimal infant feeding practices and reducing the herculean task on women to create more time for childcare, through the development of labour saving technologies. The committee aims to improve health services to provide essential maternal and child health care.
Other strategies in this wise are: micronutrient deficiency and anemia via a strategy including vitamin and mineral supplementation, food fortification and dietary diversification; combating iodine deficiency disorder through salt iodisation programme; plus institutionalising general consumer protection measures to ensure that food quality and consumer health are adequately safeguarded, as contained in the UNICEF Nigeria latest information sheet on nutrition made available to the media by the communication officer, Christine Jaulmes.
UNICEF representative in Nigeria, Mr Ayalew Abai, at a recent workshop, said this of Nigeria: Happily several African countries are on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target for underweight – Benin, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, the Gambia and Mauritania. Nigeria is not in this group yet and this has important implications for the sub-region. Nigeria is by far the most populous country in the region and its proportion of underweight children dominates the regional statistics.
The UNICEF representative in Nigeria, urges the federal government to inject the same effort she has inserted in achieving and sustaining universal salt iodation in other nutrition interventions, notably, exclusive breast feeding and vitamin A supplementation.
The report highlights that women who are undernourished have lower resistance to infection and are more liable to die from common childhood ailment like malaria, diarrhea diseases or respiratory infections. It is also estimated that malnutrition contributes to over 50% to mortality amid children aged five years and below.
Jaulmes who backs the national nutrition response on sustainable elimination of vitamin A disorder as well as reduction of iron deficiency anemia and zinc deficiency, also approves of the improvement of early child care practices at households level and in early child care centres.
The United Nations Secretary-General underlined that the only option for resolving the crisis in Yemen is negotiation.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon "is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these [Military] operations," said a statement released from the office of the UN chief's spokesperson.
Mr. Ban called for ensuring the protection of civilians and emphasized that "negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis."
A clarification message from the Pakistani embassy in Sana’a denies the rumors of Pakistan involvement on the air strikes against Yemen.
The source was surprised of including the name of Pakistan to the list of countries who participated in last night air strikes on Sana’a and other Yemeni cities.
Ambassador to Yemen Dr. Irfan Shami said, Several international media reports are erroneously reporting that Pakistani aircraft were involved in the air strikes launched by the GCC coalition against Yemen in the early morning of Thursday, 26 March 2015.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani called on all Yemeni parties to act wisely and put the interests of Yemen above all political, tribal and sectarian accounts.
In a statement aired by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Madani described the developments that are currently taking place in Yemen as "serious".
Madani urged all parties to avoid the military option and to response to the international and regional efforts that call for a comprehensive national dialogue to find a peaceful way out of the deepening crisis in Yemen
Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned [Yesterday] as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.
Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday session, Mr. Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”
The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. Nonetheless, the country has continued to be plagued by violence and mass political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution
Yemen's unity and stability are under huge threats, which casts serious consequences for the Arab region and the international peace and security, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.
"Yemen is facing multiple challenges, which makes it imperative to help Yemen and drag it away from the edge of the abyss ", Shoukry said in his speech during the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level held in Cairo.
He reiterated Egypt's support for the institutions of the state in Yemen to carry out their national responsibilities in maintaining the unity of Yemeni territory.
The United Nations announced on Sunday the launch of the humanitarian response plan for Yemen for 2015 with an amount of US $747.5 million to deliver humanitarian aid to 8.2 million people.
Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that the latest developments in Yemen confirm the importance of continuing humanitarian aid and expanding its domain to reach millions of vulnerable Yemeni people.
"Despite the political unrest in Yemen, the humanitarian community will continue to work in Yemen at its full capacity and within strong partnerships with local communities and local partners," Klaauw added.
He said that the humanitarian agencies are adhered to continue to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and to provide protection services for people within the vulnerable groups.
He called on all donors and concerned parties to support such efforts and provide humanitarian response plan for Yemen during the current year.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed on Wednesday its call for all political parties in Yemen to implement the Council's relevant resolutions, especially the resolution 2201.
The council urged Yemeni political parties to reach a political agreement based on the Gulf initiative and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), confirming its respect to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.
Chaired by Francois Delattre, the ambassador and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the UNSC confirmed its support for the efforts made by the UN Special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar.
In closed consultations which lasted for more than two hours, Delattre said, "We have heard Benomar's briefing over the latest developments in Yemen, reviewing our concerns the lack of political solutions as well as growing of terrorist threats due to the ongoing security vacuum."