COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE 48TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE AND SCIENTIFIC MEETING OF THE NUTRITION SOCIETY OF NIGERIA HELD BETWEEN 17TH — 22ND SEPTEMBER, 2018 AT AMBROSE ALLI UNIVERSITY EKPOMA, EDO STATE
The 48th Annual General Meeting and Scientific Conference of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) was held at the Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, Edo State. The five-day conference, with the theme "Nutrition Challenges: What Action for Sustainable Development?", had in attendance over three hundred (300) participants including members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, representatives of Government, Researchers, Industry, Development Partners and other nutrition-related professionals.
The conference featured plenary sessions, symposia, workshops, special session and dialogues that addressed pressing nutrition-related issues such as Mother and childcare challenges in Nigeria: Nutrition options, Innovative and proven approaches to improve infant and young child feeding practices and management of severe acute malnutrition in Nigeria, food system and nutrition sensitive agriculture for healthy and sustainable diets, accelerating nutrition results in Nigeria, and ensuring competent and adequate manpower at all levels to drive nutrition activities.
At the end of the robust deliberations, the Society made the following observations:
1. The level of malnutrition in Nigeria especially among under-five children and women remains unacceptably high and requires immediate, integrated and comprehensive action. The need to improve nutrition funding, strengthen coordination, improve human resources, strengthen linkages and track progress in policies and programmes implementation, scale up Breast Milk Substitute (BMS) Code implementation and Social Behavioral Change Communication (SBCC), Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) strategy implementation; and strengthen the nutrition surveillance system in Nigeria is emphasized.
2. The society commends the recent efforts of the government at the federal level and partners in promoting nutrition activities in Nigeria including the inauguration of the National Council on Nutrition as highest decision-making body on nutrition in Nigeria. However, government should demonstrate commitment by increasing budgetary allocation for nutrition activities at all levels and establishment and upgrading of existing nutrition units and divisions into directorates headed by qualified nutritionists.
3. The increasing commitment of the agricultural sector in mainstreaming nutrition to promote healthy food systems and adequate nutrition is commended. However, there is an urgent need for recruitment of qualified nutritionists and capacity building of existing nutrition desk officers in the Ministry and other sectors to implement Nutrition Sensitive programmes in all relevant sectors.
4. The lack of data for policy making and evidence-based decision in Nigeria as a result-of inadequate funding of research and implementation of regular survey was observed. It is recommended that government at all levels should place more emphasis on research and data generation through adequate funding.
5. The need to ensure healthy food environment as part of measures to address increasing burden of diet-related non-communicable diseases is observed. The society therefore recommends that government and partners should increase its engagement with the media and other stakeholders to promote healthy food choices and work with various stakeholders to encourage healthy food environment in Nigeria.
6. There is low level of capacity in nutrition programme planning and management at all levels in the public service leading to ineffective programme implementation and outcome. Government and development partners should invest more in capacity building for nutrition professionals at all levels of the public service in Nigeria.
Considering these observations, members of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria resolved to re-dedicate themselves to work with other stakeholders to ensure the implementation of actions to address the Nutrition challenges and promote sustainable development in Nigeria.
We as nutritionists, resolve to contribute to quality of life and national development through professional excellence and social responsibility.
Dr Bartholomew I.C. Brai
Charles C. Nkwoala
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