Health

Malnutrition: Nigeria targets food fortification to save lives

Nigeria’s battle against deficiencies in childhood nutrition got a boost recently with the introduction of a micronutrient fortification product for quick and easy utilisation by families.

 

 

The product came in response to the challenge of high infant mortality arising from poor feeding in the country.

 

Tothisend, MicronutrientLaboratories Limitedunveiled itsCognitoMicronutrient Powderatthe44thAnnualConferenceof the NigerianInstituteof Food Scienceand Technology( NIFST) whichheld inLagosrecently. Cognito MNP has essential micronutrientscontainingtenessentialvitaminsand five mineralsfor highcognitivedevelopmentand performance, physicalgrowth, andoptimum health of children.

 

Thelaunchof theproductwasoneof the highlightsof theannualconferenceof thenation’s food scientists and technologists. According to UNICEF, Nigeria has the second-highest burden of stunted   children in the world, with a national prevalence rate of 32 per cent of children under five.

 

An estimated two million children in Nigeria suffer from severe acute malnutrition (SAM), but the country reaches only two out of every ten children affected with treatment. Besides, UNICEF, theWorld HealthOrganisation( WHO) andtheWorldBankGroupidentifiedthree categories of malnutrition.

 

Theyare stunting, wasting and overweight. TheJointChildMalnutritionEstimates, 2020 bytheorganisationsreportsthat144millionchildrenunder- 5arestunted (tooshortfor their age), 47millionarewasted (toothinfor their height) and 38millionchildrenunder 5areoverweight.

 

TheChief Executiveof FlourMillsof Nigeria plcDr. PaulGbededounveiled themicronutrient powder. Gbededo, who was the Keynote Speaker atthe conference, commended Micronutrient LaboratoriesLimitedanditsChief Innovation Officerforremainingfocusedonleadingindigenous contributionto science andtechnology.

 

Dr. Kenny Acholonu is the Chief In- novation Officer, Micronutrient Laboratories and introduced the product.

 

Dr Acholonu averred that Cognito MNP “is a readily available micronutrient powder for optimising the nutritive value of local foods for all malnourished children including those in challenging settings such as conflict areas, internally displaced persons (IDPs), and poverty-chains.”

 

Acholonu said the micronutrient formulation is a direct response to the challenge thrown by international agencies bothered with the high incidence of infant mortality traceable to food deficiencies and the lack of local capacity. “Rotary International and UNICEF threw the challenge of local production of micronutrient powder in Nigeria in 2009. Before and since then, Nigeria imports MNP.

 

They approached me based on a recommendation by BASF, the world leader in chemicals. My team and I took up the challenge. We produced Micronutrient powder to global standards.”

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