“The council today approves the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN) for the country and following the approval, which is forming the basis of a National Multi sectoral Plan of Action for Food (NMPFAN) and Nutrition, there will be, going forward, a budget line for food and nutrition in all MDAs and hopefully in the three tiers of government in the country”. These were the words of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, during the Federal Executive Council Meeting held on 8th September 2021 in Abuja.
The journey to Nigeria’s ownership of a nutrition multi sectoral plan (NMPFAN) came to limelight in January 2021 at a virtual meeting anchored at the Presidential Villa, Abuja by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where he approved the five-year nutrition action plan to guide the implementation of interventions and programmes against hunger and malnutrition across all sectors in Nigeria.
The NMPFAN aims to reduce stunting rate among children under-five to 18 percent by 2025 through the scaling up of high impact nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions. If effectively implemented, the action plan, will reduce the proportion of people who suffer malnutrition by 50 percent and increase exclusive breastfeeding rate to 65 percent.
At the state level, some state governments had approved and launched their States’ Specific Multisectoral Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition prior to the approval of the National plan. CS-SUNN under the Partnership for Improving Nigeria Nutrition Systems (PINNs) and the SUN Movement Pooled Fund projects, supported Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Lagos, Enugu, Oyo, Kwara, Rivers and Imo state governments to domesticate the National Policy on Food and Nutrition (NPFN) and the NMPFAN. It would interest you to know that Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Lagos, Enugu and Oyo state governments have approved their States’ Policies on Food and Nutrition and States’ Multisectoral Plans of Action for Nutrition. However, Kwara, Imo and Rivers states are yet to do so.
At the launch of the state policy and plan in Niger state, the Deputy Governor, Alhaji Ahmed Mohamed Ketso, representing Governor Abubarkar Sani Bello, stated that the multisectoral plan is a viable tool for attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and scaling up nutrition activities in Niger state. He also pledged the state government’s commitment to “carefully pay needed attention to the integration and use of resources, ensuring adequate budgetary provision and timely releases of funds for nutrition interventions”.
In Nasarawa State, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel A. Akabe, who unveiled the plan recently said “Be rest assured that this plan developed; in its implementation in Nasarawa state (sic), we shall follow it page by page, letter by letter and we shall exceed all your expectations”.
CS-SUNN congratulates the Federal government and state governments of Kaduna, Kano, Niger, Nasarawa, Lagos, Enugu, Delta and Oyo, the National and State Committees on Food and Nutrition and all nutrition stakeholders on this feat. The approval of the NMPFAN 2021-2025 (and at state level) is a step in the right direction towards strengthening synergy among sectors as well as government and partners initiatives towards improving nutrition in Nigeria.
However, there is urgent need to scale up high impact and cost-effective nutrition interventions across the 36 states to reduce the worsening malnutrition situation in the country. Hopefully, the effective implementation of these policies and plans will contribute greatly to reducing the burden of malnutrition in Nigeria.