13 percent of Nigerian children may become mentally deformed: Expert

Posted by News Express | 8 August 2017 | 1,226 times

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At least 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity unless proper iodine is part of their nutrition, according to professor emeritus, Babatunde Oguntona.

“If we don’t keep iodine level properly, we’ll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed,” Prof. Oguntona said at the weekend in Lagos at a one-day Nutrition Symposium on ‘Malnutrition,  Child Development and the Media’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM).

“Imagine 13 percent of parliamentarians mentally deformed. Inadequate iodine in our food is a serious threat. You can't talk of development when you ignore the issue of nutrition status of your people,” he added, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition.

Oguntona, a former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said between 13 and 18 Nigerians children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hours and called on the media to step up advocacy on the issue.

Ivy Ibiso KingHarry, an official of the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network | Global Alliance on Improved Nutrition (GAIN), said the media have a duty to promote messages on nutrition as influencers and change agents. She added however that such media efforts must flow from proper understanding of the science of nutrition and effective delivery of messages in language understood by common people.

She urged reporters to always fact-check and scrutinise official data on malnutrition, be consistent and build trust in their duty as gatekeepers.

•Photo shows, L-R; Project Manager Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria, Mr. Okoronkwo Sunday; Junior Associate, Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network, Nigeria, Miss Ibiso Ivy King-Harry; Chairman of Occasion, Board of Trustee Member Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM)/Past President Nutrition Society of Nigeria, Prof. Babatunde Oguntona; National Coordinator, MeCAM, Mr. Remmy Nweke and Board Member MeCAM, Dr. Aminu Magashi Garba, during the One Day Nutrition Symposium on Malnutrition, Child Development and the Media  in Lagos.

Source: News Express

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