FG to fight malnutrition with N68.63bn – Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole, has said that one of the priorities of the Federal Government is to fight against malnutrition in the country.

Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 5th Family Planning Conference held in Abuja on Tuesday, the minister also said the government would invest the sum of N68.63bn ($225m) on the anti-malnutrition campaign.

Jointly sponsored by the World Health Organisation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Society for Family Health, United Kingdom Aid Direct and United States Agency for International Development, the conference was themed, ‘Investment, innovation and inclusiveness.’

Adewole noted in his speech that N1.2bn, being part of the 2018 budget of the ministry, was allocated to family planning.

He said, “We had a meeting with the Minister of Finance and we prioritised three matters on our 2018 budget proposal. They are the N1.2bn ($4m) allocation to family planning, allocation of N1.2bn for the fight against malnutrition and our commitment of N3.05bn ($10m) to Global Fund Replenishment so that we can benefit from an allocation of over $600m global funding.

“The Federal Government, in another huge commitment, is investing N68.63bn ($225m) in a project to address malnutrition in 12 states of the federation. It is another top priority of this government.”

While declaring the programme open, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, whose address was read by Adewole, said the theme of the event reflected the effort of the Federal Government on family planning and population control.

He said that it was vital to manage the nation’s population, warning that if the population growth rate continued at 3.2 per cent annually, Nigeria would become the third most populous nation in the world by 2050.

Osinbajo said, “This is a welcome platform for fostering policy debate, exchanging ideas and sharing experiences and challenges identified so far. It also provides an opportunity to look to the future, identify emerging issues and discuss innovation that will shape the practice of Family Planning and birth spacing in Nigeria.

“Nigeria launched a comprehensive roadmap for harnessing demographic dividend in July 2017 to align with the African dividend roadmap and to facilitate its implementation within the shortest possible time.

“One of the main issues identified in Nigeria’s demographic dividend roadmap is the need to invest in a nationwide family planning programme, which eliminates the unfulfilled need for modern contraception, puts a check on the current high fertility rate and helps achieve efficient population management.

“Investing in family planning has been proven to be smart, cost effective and life saving, particularly in a country like Nigeria with a very young and rapidly growing population.

“If Nigeria’s prevailing annual population growth of 3.2 per cent persists, we will have an additional 68 million people by 2030 and will be the third most populous country in the world by 2050.”
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