The Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) Advocacy Group has called on political parties and aspirants to pritotise the prevention and treatment of malnutrition in their development agendas.
They made the call at the weekend when they visited four political parties in Abuja. The advocacy group which is led by the International Society of Media in Public Health (ISMPH), said the burden of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) on children in the country was huge and required urgent attention.
The group visited the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alliance for a New Nigeria (ANN), and the All Progressive Congress (APC).
They said malnutrition had negative impact on national development, adding that if not tackled would lead to a generation of people who cannot contribute meaningfully to the development of the country.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Lovelyn Gabriel Agbo, head, monitoring and evaluation unit , and Mohammed Murtala, Nutrition Officer, of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), said they decided to visit political parties because they had great influence on who represented their parties, and what happened after elections.
“There is need for political parties to engage their candidates going into the election so that they can have more articulated programs on addressing malnutrition,” they said.
The advocacy group called on political parties and other stakeholders to come up with programmes mainstreaming the existing Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) programmes that have evidence based approach in addressing malnutrition.
The group also called on candidates of the various parties to ensure that appropriate funds were allocated, released and used judiciously in addressing the challenge of malnutrition in the country when elected.
The parties assured the group that they and their presidential candidates were committed to tackling malnutrition.
Director, Communication Strategy of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, of the People’s Democratic party (PDP) Bolaji Abdullahi said “I want to assure you on behalf of our party- the PDP and His Excellency, Atiku Abubakar, that this remains a priority to us and by God’s grace when we form government, we will work with you to ensure that malnutrition is no longer an issue in Nigeria,” he said.
No one was available at the All Progressive Congress (APC) party office to receive the team, as they were told officials were out of the office for campaigns.