A Nutritionist, Miss Jessica Bartholomew, on Sunday commended the Federal Government for its plan to provide nutritious meal to 5.5
million children across the country.
Bartholomew gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) while reacting to President
Mohammedu Buhari broadcast to mark his one year in office.
Buhari, in a nationwide broadcast, said 5.5 million children would be provided with nutritious meals through his
administration’s school feeding
programme to improve learning,
enrolment and completion rates.
Bartholomew, a Nutrition Officer
with a Kaduna-based NGO, Positive Hope Support and Care
Initiative, said the measure would cut down the high rate of
malnutrition affecting children in
“Finally, people are beginning to see the need for nutrition in
promoting a healthy living and
development of children.
“Children are dying of
malnutrition daily and those that
managed to remain alive, end up stunted or wasted, affecting their capacity to acquire education
and fully developed to adult hood.
“We had shouted at different fora, but nobody seemed to care or listen, because of the
erroneous perception that nutrition is just about food.
Thank God, we now have a president who understood our cry and is taking proactive steps to address the challenge, “she said.
She however said that the right people must be involved in the implementation of the programme to ensure it success, lest it became a wasted effort.
The nutritionist advised that the
people that would be engaged in preparing the meals must be
“The cooks must also possess the requisite knowledge and
skills to prepare the meals according to standard, otherwise
they would only be serving food with no nutritional value to the children, “she said.
On his part, Mr Silas Ideva, the Technical Officer of Care-link
Resource Foundation, also a Kaduna-based NGO on nutrition, told NAN that the step would improve the current nutrition
status in the country.
Ideva said the current nutrition status of the country, particularly
in the North, was alarming.
According to him, most children do not have access to nutritious meal at home, adding that getting a good meal in school through the programme would go a long way in tackling the malnutrition crises in the country.
He equally advised the federal
government to involve all stakeholders in the
implementation of the programme to ensure its success. (NAN)