(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 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has appealed member states and civil society organizations (CSOs) to provide humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people, especially medical supplies to cope with the big number of injured as a result of the military aggression.
The Secretary General of the OIC Iyad Madani said, in a statement issued Monday, that the OIC is holding consultations with several civil society organizations that have consultative status in the organization to provide food and medical and humanitarian assistance to the Yemeni people.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Tuesday reminded all sides to the conflict in Yemen to ensure that attacks resulting in civilian casualties are promptly investigated and that international human rights and international humanitarian law are scrupulously respected during the conduct of hostilities in the country.
In addition to hundreds of fighters, at least 364 civilians are reported to have lost their lives since March 26, including at least 84 children and 25 women. Another 681 civilians – possibly more – have been injured. Dozens of public buildings, including hospitals, schools, airports and mosques have been destroyed in airstrikes, through shelling and other attacks.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has renewed his country's desire to resolve Yemen's crisis in Yemen through talks, revealing that his government urges Iran to play a role in bringing various Yemeni parties to the dialogue.
In his statement issued Monday, Sharif said that his country wants to resolve Yemen crisis through talks.
He added that Islamabad urged Tehran to play a role to bring conflicting parties in Yemen to the dialogue table, the official news agency of Pakistan quoted the Prime Minister as saying in a statement.
Professor Feaqa al-Saeed Ba'alawy, Assistant Secretary-General of the GPC, chaired a meeting of the civil society.
The meeting discussed a number of issues and challenges facing the country, particularly the Saudi brutal aggression on the country.
The UN secretary-general has said that two weeks of Saudi-led air strikes against Yemen, “have turned an internal political crisis into a violent conflict that risks deep and long-lasting regional repercussions”.
Ban Ki-moon on Thursday told reporters that he was urging all countries in the region to go beyond national priorities and help the Yemeni people, saying “the last thing the region and our world need is more of the chaos and crimes we have seen in Libya and Syria”.
Two planeloads of medical aid landed in Sana'a on Friday.
The planes were sent by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The UNICEF plane contained almost 37 tons of medical aid, which "will be delivered to the Ministry of Public Health and Population, to distribute them to hospitals in the needed areas," said Mohammed al-Asadi, the communication officer at UNICEF.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) demanded on Thursday to hold neutral investigations with all members in the Arab coalition forces attacking Yemen led by Saudi Arabia to find out if there are violations of war laws and to take the necessary procedures.
In its press release, the HRW expressed its deep concerns over war laws violations, noting that the airstrikes led to the killing of at least 29 civilians and injured 41 others, including 14 children and 11 women in Al-Mazraq refugees camp in Hajjah governorate in addition to medical facilities, a local market and a bridge.
Iraq and Iran confirmed on Thursday the importance of halting military operations on Yemen, expressing their concern on the consequences of the Saudi aggression on Yemen.
The statement was made during a meeting by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi with the Speaker of the Iraqi Parliament Salim al-Jabouri in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, according to Fars news agency.
The European Union (EU) has called the conflicting parties in Yemen to avoid targeting civilians and infrastructure in the country.
In joint statements made by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini and the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, they condemned targeting hospitals and destruction of homes, schools and basic infrastructure, saying such acts are unacceptable