'Nutrition must be part of COVID-19 recovery plan for kids' - Prof Nnam
The President, Federation of African Nutrition Societies, Prof Ngozi Nnam has said that the failure of African nations to include nutrition in the COVID-19 plan will cause a drastic increase in wasting of children on the continent.
Nnam, who is a professor of Community and Public Health Nutrition at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka said this is critical as Africa is one of the continents with the highest rate of malnourished children before the pandemic broke out.
She revealed this during an interview with Punch Healthwise while emphasising that the COVID-19 global pandemic had made worse the burden of child malnutrition in the African region.
She said that in less than eight months, the pandemic had reversed the gains made in the fight against under-five malnutrition for many years.
Professor Nnam, while giving insight into the benefits of having nutrition incorporated into the COVID-19 response and recovery plan said;
"It is very vital that nutrition is included in the COVID-19 response and recovery plan because, during this period of the pandemic, the rate of malnutrition has increased drastically, particularly wasting and underweight, among under-five children.
"Millions of children across the globe are undergoing wasting as a result of COVID-19.
"I know it took us long efforts to reduce wasting in Nigeria and other countries in Africa, but all these efforts have been lost due to the pandemic because the increase in the number of malnourished children since the outbreak of the pandemic outweighs whatever gains we have made over the years.
"There is, therefore, a serious need to include nutrition in the COVID-19 recovery plan so that we can see how to galvanise efforts to get back to where we were before because we have gone down.
"The rate of wasting has increased drastically, not only in Nigeria but globally.
"Africa is one of the continents that have the highest rate of malnourished children in the world. So we really need to do that because the key to good health is nutrition".
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