Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has inaugurated the state’s Food and Nutrition Committee to develop sustainable strategies to tackle the problem of malnutrition in the state.
Governor Obaseki, who inaugurated the committee at the Government House in Benin City, said, “The committee will assist the state government to identify and encourage the consumption of nutritious food in the state. Eating highly nutritious food goes a long way in ensuring that people not only get needed energy to work but also sustain good health to contribute to development.”
“We are concerned about the health status and nutrition of our people, particularly among very young persons and old people. Therefore, setting up this committee is important,” he said.
Explaining the role of nutrition in development, he said, “We are aware that there is a connection between healthy eating, preventive medicine, girl-child education, women empowerment and childhood development. And we don’t want to leave all of these issues to chance.”
Obaseki said, the terms of reference for the committee include to identify the problems of nutrition in the state; coordinate efforts to improve nutrition and ensure adequate resource allocation towards addressing issues bothering on malnutrition.
He noted, “The committee has the mandate to identify measures to be put in place by various stakeholders and institutions to tackle malnutrition in the state. They will also review strategies to tackle malnutrition and their impact on the society.”
Obaseki called for synergy among various stakeholders in the food and nutrition sector to avoid duplicity of roles, as this will allow for optimal use of resources.
Chairperson of the Committee and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Mrs. Vera Obadan, said, “The initiative will put nutrition on the front burner, which is key to human development.”
Obadan, who was represented by Vice Chairman of the committee and Vice Chancellor, Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, said the bedrock of nutrition is breastfeeding, noting that the rate of breastfeeding in the country is low.
She said the committee will embark on massive sensitisation campaign to educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding which will ensure healthy childhood development.