‘Nigeria’s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress’

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Nigeria is home to the highest numbers of malnourished children

Zouera Youssoufou, Aliko Dangote Foundation’s Managing Director and CEO, has observed that Nigeria’s high malnutrition rate is undermining progress towards improving child health and survival and putting the brakes on economic development.

By investing in nutrition, Youssoufou said the foundation aim to directly improve the lives of Nigerian families and to empower citizens to reach their full potential.

Youssoufou was commenting on the USD100 million pledge by the foundation to tackle malnutrition in Nigeria that was announced at the Global Nutrition Summit 2017 held in Milan, Italy. 

A major highlight of the Summit was the pledge by the Aliko Dangote Foundation to invest US$100 Million over five years to tackle malnutrition in the worst-affected parts of Nigeria. The Aliko Dangote Foundation is the philanthropic organization of Aliko Dangote, founder and Executive Chairman of the Dangote Group, Africa’s largest homegrown conglomerate.

The Global Nutrition Summit is the global forum of the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016-2026). This year’s edition was held in close partnership with a number of international stakeholders including the U.K.’s Department for International Development, the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the International Coalition on Advocacy for Nutrition. The governments of Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Zambia all made commitments to expand their nutrition programmes and the Summit succeeded in galvanizing US3.4 billion according to the organisers.

Malnutrition affects every country in the world in various forms, however Africa is particularly hard hit and Nigeria is home to the highest numbers of malnourished children. Almost half of the one million children who die before the age of five every year in Nigeria, die of malnutrition as the underlying cause. Without the proper nutrients during the first 1,000 days of life starting from conception up to their second birthday, children are less likely to survive childhood diseases such as malaria and pneumonia, and are less likely to escape poverty as adults. They become physically and cognitively stunted, a fate that has befallen 11 million of Nigeria’s children under five.

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