As Nigeria joins the world to commemorate International Children’s Day of Broadcasting, (ICBD), a day set aside for children world over to explore opportunities and fulfill their right to participation, experts say investment in nutrition would prevent nearly half of child mortalities, boost the economy by 50 percent and increase school attendance.
This year’s ICBD theme is: “End Malnutrition: Protect The Future of The Nigerian Child”.
Experts opined that children are also likely to escape poverty by 33 percent in adulthood if adequate investment on nutrition is made.
According to research, well-nourished children are healthier, more brilliant and are likely to be productive adults later on in life.
Current data by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) revealed the precarious situation that about 25 million under five children are wasted, that is “too thin for their age” and over 10million others stunted “too short for their age” as a result of Severe Acute Malnutrition, (SAM).
Nutrition experts say, the recent surge in cases of malnutrition may socially be attributed to poverty, insufficient food, poor healthcare services or even unhealthy environment.
However, these calls for urgency to tackle the persistent threat of malnutrition in Nigeria as the solution to the menace according to experts is an investment into the first 1,000 days between a woman’s pregnancy and child’s first two years of life.
This period is medically considered the most critical window of opportunity for malnutrition prevention. Perhaps this is why UNICEF has now clearly marked a target burden to be alleviated.
To commemorate with Nigeria children, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement made available to our correspondent, said children have the right to survival and development.
Lai said the theme highlights the principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child that all children irrespective of their status and situation should enjoy their rights to Survival and Development as enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Child Rights Act (CRA) 2003.
He called on the media to open airwaves to the children for this year’s celebration to air their views on issues that concern them stating that “in Nigeria, as in other countries, most stations will give control of their operations to children, who will take part in newscasts, productions and presentations.”
According to Lai Mohammed, “Articles 12 and 14 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child say that children have the right to form their own views and to express their views freely through the media on matters affecting them. This is what the ICBD tries to realize”.
The minister said Nigerian children should be given the opportunity to commemorate this year’s ICDB by making their platforms available for children irrespective of their status, location, ability or disability a chance to promote their rights and to contribute to national development.