Akwa Ibom State government has expressed its readiness to partner the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to promote good Nutritional Regime for children.
In line with this policy, N59million has been budgeted for micro-nutrient supplement under the Save One Million Lives (SOML) programme.
The governor’s wife, Mrs. Martha Emmanuel, said she would soon launch a state-wide enlightenment and sensitisationprogrammein the 31 local governments, during which mothers would be educated and empowered to feed childrenproperly.
She spoke in Uyo at the opening of a two-day advocacy meeting for women policy makers and wives of policy makers,organised by the government in partnership with UNICEF.
Mrs. Emmanuel, who was inducted as the number one nutrition champion, said through her pet project, the Family Empowerment and Youths Re-orientation Programme (FEYREP), she would embark on mechanised farming for food sufficiency and affordability.
She lamented that millions of children were prone to avoidable illnesses and deaths due to malnutrition and poor diet, and enjoined women to go into farming to increase food production.
The governor’s wife said: “FEYREP is going into mechanised agriculture to enable mothers have enough food for children.”
She said the government would ensure adequate budgetary provision and enforcement for the implementation of child feeding project.
Health Commissioner Dr. Dominic Ukpong condemned low investment in nutrition.
He stressed the need for an action plan to overcome malnutrition.
His words: “Mobilisingthe resources needed to accelerate progress against malnutrition will require that countries, donors, businesses, innovative financing and even households must act in state’s solidarity to tackle the problem.”
The UNICEF Nutrition Specialist, Mr. WilbroadNgambi, underscored the importance of scaling up funding of nutrition programmes for the young ones, to meet UNICEF’s standard.
He enjoined stakeholders to be in the vanguard of addressing the problem.
Prof. Henrietta Ene-Obong of the University ofCalabar (UNICAL), Cross River State, lamented that 60 percent of the population lived below poverty line and advocated improved budget for agriculture and feeding programmes, to enhance good nutritional regime.