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Tuesday, 7 November 2017

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Friday, 6 October 2017

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Monday, 4 September 2017

Communique: 2017 Nutrition Symposium



Communique 

The Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM) held its maiden one-day Nutrition Symposium on Friday August 4, 2017, at the Welcome Hotel, International Airport Road, Lagos, with the theme ‘Malnutrition, Child Development and the Media’. 

The event drew participants from the Academia, Media and the Civil Society especially those specifically working on nutrition. The most prominent of these CSOs are Scaling- Up Nutrition Business Network/Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN) which was represented by Ms Ibiso Ivy King-Harry; Civil Society Scaling -Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), represented by Mr. Sunday Okoronkwo; and Community Health and Research Initiative (CHRI) whose board chairman Dr Aminu Magashi Garba was in attendance. The event was chaired by Professor Babatunde Oguntona, Honorary Board of Trustee member of MeCAM and former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria. 

WHEREAS the symposium looked at the issues surrounding malnutrition as well as various measures, past and present, being undertaken to defeat what stakeholders agreed is a silent killer of the Nigerian dream;

WHEREAS experts insisted that official figures of children ravaged by the killer disease may be grossly understated and that children not properly fed within the first two years of life may end up being stunted or wasted; 

WHEREAS the symposium condemned the attitude of the Nigerian leaders to this crisis and observed that foreigner partners appear more devoted to resolving it;

WHEREAS stakeholders were united on the critical role of the media in focusing attention on the crisis;

WHEREAS the forum dissected a whole lot of fallacies and fads around nutrition and their impacts on the growth and development of the child;
 
The Nutrition Symposium resolved: 
1.         That Nigeria must invest in the nutrition of its people and make access to proper nutrition a fundamental right as a precondition for national growth and development, with India and Brazil cited as examples of developing nations that invested in the nutrition of their people and are now reaping the benefits in terms of huge socio-economic and technological advancement.

2.         That conscious effort be made by all stakeholders, especially the media, to pull down all fads and fallacies around breastfeeding and nutrition, including but not limited to claims in some culture that giving newborn children the colostrum makes them susceptible to witchcraft. 

3.         That there is urgent need to declare an emergency to address the crisis of malnutrition, with the Nigerian government urged to rededicate itself to the implementation of all action plans on nutrition, such as the $912m required to fully implement the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN 2014-2019). 

4.         That the media should avoid celebrating fraudulent individuals and their activities, but rather promote stories that bother on human interests such as the need for a reorientation and training of journalists on issues of malnutrition.

5.         That there is need for the media to understand the topic of nutrition, and interrogate official data on it, with a view to give accurate information to the public in language understood by the vast majority of their audience.

6.         That eliminating malnutrition is possible if all stakeholders do their bits and the national policies on nutrition are fully implemented.  

7.         That government should make access to gainful employment and adequate food a right for every citizen as these would go a long way to resolve the malnutrition crisis.

8.         That government should not just commit funds to address malnutrition but to also take concrete steps to resolve the underlining cause of malnutrition in Nigeria.

9.         That MeCAM and the media at large should raise the bar in reporting and creating awareness about malnutrition,  sustain the discourse to boost advocacy efforts and champion serious commitment to nutrition in Nigeria so that history may say well of our role as media practitioners.

Signed:
Rafiu Ajakaye                                                                         Remmy Nweke
Chair, Rapporteur Faculty                                                      National Coordinator, MeCAM

Saturday, 2 September 2017

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Nutrition Symposium’17: FG urged to fund nutrition to save children

Lagos, Nigeria, August 10, 2017: The Federal Government (FG) of Nigeria has been urged to commit adequate funds to address the growing menace of malnutrition, with experts and stakeholders saying the way to avert the danger is for the country to not just fund projects targeted at treating the millions of children stunted by malnutrition but commit to awareness campaigns to prevent the disease.
Speaking at a one-day symposium on 'malnutrition, child development and the media' organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM), Sunday Okoronkwo, a project manager at the Civil Society on Scaling Up Nutrition Nigeria (CS-SUNN), explained that the country currently does not have proper funding to address the problem, warning also that figures such as 11m Nigerian children being stunted may well be a poor representation of the reality.
Okoronkwo, who stood in for CS-SUNN project director, Mrs Beatrice Eluaka, at the event also attended by other top pro-nutrition civil society groups, including Community Health and Research Initiative (CHRI), Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network Nigeria and Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN),  lamented that the country's $912m action plan on nutrition for the years 2014 through 2019 remains largely unfunded, with Nigeria’s $100m counterpart funding of the policy hardly making it into the annual budgets.
According to him, the country's 2017 budget has no provision for the plan which expires in 2019.
Speaking on ‘Dealing with nutritional Fads and Fallacies’, Dr. Aminu Garba, chairman of CHRI, called for declaration of emergency on malnutrition, called for sustained media engagement, among other steps, to address the many fallacies around the question of nutrition.
Garba outlined these to include cultural claims that giving newborns colostrum exposes them to witchcraft or that children and women should not eat meat or take adequate milk.
Remmy Nweke, the national coordinator of MeCAM Nigeria, said the organisation evolved from the unique need for the media to respond to the national emergency on malnutrition. He insisted that government’s funding to combat malnutrition is not “commensurate” to the volume and potential consequences of the unfolding crisis.
About MeCAM:
Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM) Nigeria was founded Thursday, August 28, 2015, as a media advocacy group against child malnutrition and well-being, as well as to strengthen the agro-nutrition capacity and interest of its members professionally in contribution to nation-building, especially in Nigeria and across the continent of Africa among developing countries of the world.
MeCAM is committed to showcasing successful and development efforts in the area of agro-nutrition for the benefit of mankind and for Africa emancipation from extreme hunger especially in children, women and society, centred on Goal 2 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Further inquiry:
Julie Ekong
Director, Outreach, MeCAM Nigeria

+2348033266916, Email: mecamnigeria@gmail.com

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Nutrition Symposium’17: Expert says 13% of Nigerians risk being mentally deformed

Press Release:
At least 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity unless proper iodine is part of their nutrition, according to professor emeritus, Babatunde Oguntona, who calls on government to pay greater attention to public health.
“If we don't keep iodine level properly, we'll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed,” Prof. Oguntona said at the weekend in Lagos at a one-day Nutrition Symposium on ‘Malnutrition,  Child Development and the Media’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM).

“Imagine 13 percent of parliamentarians mentally deformed. Inadequate iodine in our food is a serious threat. You can't talk of development when you ignore the issue of nutrition status of your people,” he added, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition.

Oguntona, a former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said between 13 and 18 Nigerians children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hours and called on the media to step up advocacy on the issue.

Ivy Ibiso KingHarry, an associate at the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network | Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), said the media have a duty to promote messages on nutrition as influencers and change agents. She added however that such media efforts must flow from proper understanding of the science of nutrition and effective delivery of messages in language understood by common people.


She urged reporters to always fact-check and scrutinize official data on malnutrition, be consistent and build trust in their duty as gatekeepers.