The Media Centre against child malnutrition (MeCAM) has called on the federal government to pay greater attention to public health.
The group made this call 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.
According to the Chairman of Occasion, Board of Trustee Member, MeCAM and Past President Nutrition Society of Nigeria, professor emeritus, Babatunde Oguntona, at least 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity due to poor iodine in their nutrition.
He said “If we don’t keep iodine level properly, we’ll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed.
“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, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition”
Oguntona also called on the media to step up advocacy regarding Nigerian children between 13 and 18 who die of malnutrition and related diseases every hour.
An official of the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network, Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), Ivy Ibiso KingHarry, said the media has a duty of promoting 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.
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).