By Chioma Obinna
A Nutrition Specialist, Dr. Zacharia Fusheini has warned that except urgent action is taken by the three tiers of government to address the menace of malnutrition among Nigerian children, the country would lose 16 percent of its annual Gross Domestic Product, GDP, to stunting, an irreversible complication of Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM.
Fusheini, who is UNICEF’s Nutrition Advocacy specialist, told Vanguard, that nutrition is currently underfunded in the country, but maintained that for every $1 invested in preventing stunting, no less than $16 dollars is gained as return investment.
He said: “There is evidence already on how countries are losing their GDPs to malnutrition and during the last African Development Bank meeting, it was reported that African countries including Nigeria are losing between 3 and 16 percent of their GDPs to stunting alone. That is a huge loss to a nation.”
“When a stunted child grows into adulthood, first, such child loses optimal productivity. As the child is losing the optimum amount of output that the child would have made so if it is converted into financial terms, the child, the nation and everybody is losing something.”