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Group calls for PPP to address malnutrition in Nigeria

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The Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network (SBN), has advocated for a Public Private Partnership (PPP) to address malnutrition challenges in the country.

The SBN National Coordinator, Ms Ibiso King-Harry made the call in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network is convened by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) and the World Food Program (WFP).

The body was established as a global programme in 2012 to identify, organise and develop a network of companies in the food and nutrition space and support them in making specific positive contributions to nutrition.

King-Harrys aid that since its inauguration in Nigeria in 2016, the SBN is one of the global networks within the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) Movement which supports 61 Countries, including Nigeria, to develop multi stakeholder approaches to end malnutrition in all its forms.

She said that in its bid to continue to seek solutions to end malnutrition, SBN convened a meeting with key stakeholders in the nutrition space to discuss what more can be done by the private sector to improve nutrition in Nigeria.

She added that the meeting hosted a panel discussion on the UN Food Systems Dialogue, tagged “Action Track 1”, centered on ensuring access to safe and nutritious food for all.

“Malnutrition is a complex challenge, making progress against and eventually eradicating malnutrition requires the skills and expertise of all sectors of society.

“In most countries, especially countries like Nigeria where the vast majority of people obtain their food from markets, that is, they don’t grow any or most of the foods they consume, there can’t be any lasting solutions without the active engagement of the private sector.

“The private sector must be enabled to play a full and active part in supporting measures to address malnutrition and the challenges with making safe and nutritious foods more available and affordable for Nigerians through their investments.

“Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) are key to improving nutrition and SBN has established alliances and facilitated partnerships and collaborations to enhance the enabling environment for businesses in food and nutrition,” she said.

Àlso, in his submission, Dr Michael Ojo, GAIN’s Country Director, had said that for past five years of the SBN’s existence in Nigeria, the network had delivered increased participation for the private sector in nutrition.

He said that the group had also created space for meaningful dialogue across the sectors on policies that affect nutrition, built knowledge and capacity of private sector actors among others.

“Though the country has now seen significant successes in improving nutrition, the challenge of malnutrition still remains.

“Nigerians are still consuming a very narrow range of foods.

“They are not eating enough of the right types of foods and are now increasingly eating too much of the wrong types with key indices of malnutrition.

“This has resulted in stunting in children and micro – nutrient deficiencies in women of reproductive age remaining stubbornly high in terms of prevalence.

“Most Nigerians buy the food they eat but the available safe and nutritious foods are not being adequately demanded and consumed by the people who need them the most,” he said.

Ojo, however, noted that to ensure access to safe and nutritious food for all, the private sector must be harnessed to contribute in partnership with the government to make significant achievement. (NAN)

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