New Telegraph

Lawmakers Champion Putting Nutrition On Front Burner To Boost Human Capital Devt

Legislators from 13 states in the federation met in Lagos recently at a two-day summit, when they pledged to work on bringing issues of nutrition to the front burner as well as pushing for increased budget allocations to prevent malnutrition in citizens.

During the summit, which was second in the series, the lawmakers similarly pledged to work in ensuring that the executive arm of government does the needful in the timely release of nutrition funds.

These are contained in a communique issued at the end of the summit with the theme ‘Prioritising Nutrition – A Pathway to Human Capital Development’.

The summit was aimed to strengthen nutrition policies and implementation across the participating states.

In the communique issued at the end of the Two-Day Legislative Engagement on Improved Nutrition organised by the Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), participants at the summit highlighted the crucial role of proper nutrition in a healthy population, emphasising its impact on education, productivity, and economic growth.

The communiqué signed by 14 participants, showed that discussions at the retreat centred on the link between malnutrition and health problems, reduced productivity, and hindered cognitive development.

The lawmakers who reviewed existing nutrition policies in their states, identified gaps, and explored solutions also emphasised the need for robust legislative frameworks to support and enforce the policies.

They proposed the establishment of home and school gardens as well as the inclusion of nutrition as a subject in elementary school curriculums.

Also, participants learned from successful legislative actions in other regions and countries.

The discussions at the well attended event also addressed the importance of adequate funding for nutrition programmes.

The legislators committed to advocating for a four per cent increase in budgetary allocation for nutrition-sensitive ministries and a 10 per cent increase for those directly addressing nutrition.

Additionally, they pledged to ensure timely disbursement of allocated funds and consider nutrition interventions within their constituency projects.

The summit stressed further the importance of collaboration across sectors, including health, agriculture, education, and social protection.

The legislators acknowledged the need for increased community engagement and awareness, exploring strategies to leverage traditional and social media for disseminating nutrition information.

On building a roadmap, the engagement culminated in a series of resolutions solidifying the commitment of participating states.

The legislators pledged to review and strengthen existing policies, develop state-specific nutrition action plans, and establish committees dedicated to food and nutrition within their legislative arms.

They also emphasised the importance of regular legislative oversight to ensure effective implementation.

Furthermore, they also resolved to foster partnerships between government, civil society, the private sector, and international organisations as crucial for enhancing nutrition initiatives.

On continuous monitoring for impact, the summit concluded with a commitment from participating states to prioritise nutrition as a key driver of human capital development.

The resolutions adopted serve as a roadmap for improving nutrition outcomes in the 13 focal states.

They also identified continuous monitoring and collaborative efforts as essential to achieving a lasting impact on the health and well-being of their populations.

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