FG Gives Guideline on Optimal Nutrition for Women, Girls

The Federal Government has unveiled a National Guideline to bridge existing gaps in all the multi-sectoral approaches on adequate Nutrition in the country with a view to checking issues of stunting, wasting and anemia among women and children

The Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Barrister (Mrs) Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye at the Launch of the National Guidelines on Women and Girls’ Empowerment for Optimal Nutrition held today in Abuja, stated that the document aims at promoting healthy living as well as longevity, not only among women and girls’ but the entire Nigerian populace

The Minister informed that the country has the third highest record of wasted children in the world, with malnutrition being responsible for deaths of many of them before the age of 5 and a high percentage of its women of reproductive age also suffering from anemia

*Optimal nutrition is not just a health imperative but a basic human right as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Nigeria is a signatory. The consequences of malnutrition, including cognitive impairments, reduced productivity and chronic illnesses, can result in significant Gross Domestic Product (GDP) losses of 2.3% annually, translating into substantial economic burdens*, she said

Barrister Kennedy-Ohanenye explained that it is in recognition of this fact, that the Ministry, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present administration commenced its sustainable empowerment programmes to equip women and girls’ as key drivers in the malnutrition echo system on skill acquisition and enterprenuership so as to enable them earn and cater adequately for the food needs of their families, among others

The Minister explained that *our interventions extend beyond nutrition to encompass comprehensive empowerment strategies. We have developed and disseminated the National Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Policy and Action Plan, procured and distributed empowerment materials, provided agricultural training and renovated skill acquisition centers to equip women with the tools they need to thrive*

While urging participants at the Launch to make full use of the Guidelines to ensure optimal nutrition for women and girls’ in the country, Barrister Kennedy-Ohanenye thanked Donor Agencies, Development Partners and other relevant Stakeholders for their contributions towards the production of the Manual, adding that the Ministry remains committed to ensuring the realization of the policies, programmes and objectives of government in line with its mandate

In a welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda stated that the Launch of the Guideline marks a critical milestone for the integration of women and girls’ concerns for optimal nutrition which were not adequately covered by other existing policies.

Represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr. Tony Iwere, he expressed the Ministry’s
discomfort over the high rate of malnutrition of women and children in Nigeria as reflected in the statistics on stunting, wasting, anaemia and micronutrient deficiency among others, noting that the Booklet tallies with the on-going efforts of achieving food security, gender sensitive society as well as inclusivity in National Economic Growth and Development

Amb. Aduda stated further that in line with the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led Administration, *the Ministry is committed to building a just society in which women, girls and other vulnerable groups will enjoy the same opportunities, rights and obligations in all spheres of life, devoid of discrimination; where their needs and concerns are mainstreamed equitably into all sectors of National Development

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