By Chris Onuoha

As people across the globe joins World Health Organisation to celebrate World Health Day on April 7, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA) commemorated the Day in collaboration with the Ogun State Ministry of Health by training primary healthcare professionals in Abeokuta on Friday April 62018.

With the 2018 year theme, “Universal Health Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere,” NNIA in observance of the organisation’s vision which focuses on ensuring that all people can get quality health services, where and when they need them, without suffering financial hardship embarked on the training of healthcare professionals to key into the mandate.

Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Health, Dr. Nofiu Aigoro attending to an infant during a Malnutrition Management Training on the 2018 World Health Day, in Abeokuta.

The one day training held at Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) house in Abeokuta by experts from NNIA witnessed various primary healthcare professionals from 110 Primary Health Care Professionals from Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun state who participated in the training on Malnutrition in the First Years of Life: Its Assessment and Management.

Giving a welcome address at the flag-off of the training, the NNIA representative, Dr. Omotayo Omoteso shed light on the objectives of the training. He said, “Global studies have shown that malnutrition is an underlying factor in 55 percent of all child deaths, with Nigeria largely affected by the scourge. Each year, about 1 million Nigerian children die and more than half of these deaths are traceable to malnutrition.”

According to him, this situation calls for urgent multi-stakeholder action. “Nestle Nutrition Institute Africa is therefore happy to collaborate with the Ogun State Government in its efforts to address malnutrition in the first 1000 days of life. This is in line with our commitment to bridge the gap between science and the practical application of nutrition to ensure a healthier, brighter future for children. We therefore welcome this opportunity to contribute through the development of the capabilities of Primary Health Care Professionals here in Ogun State.”

Addressing the press at the Ogun State Secretariat where the training took place, Ogun State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye said it is sad to note that millions of people across the globe suffer financial hardship in obtaining essential health services due to poverty.

“Currently, about 800 million people, which constitute 12 per cent of the world’s population, spend at least 10 per cent of their household budget on health needs. Of this number, about 100 million suffer financial hardship because of out of pocket health expenditure and half of the world’s population is unable to obtain essential health services, due to poverty.” Ipaye stressed.

L-R – Acting Ogun State Co-ordinator, World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Gloria Archibong; Permanent Secretary, Ogun State Ministry of Health, Dr. Nofiu Aigoro; Commissioner for Health, Ogun State, Dr. Babatunde Ipaye and the representative, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA), Dr. Omotayo Omoteso at a press conference to celebrate the 2018 World Health Day, in Abeokuta.

Dr. Ipaye said that the World Health Day 2018 celebration and intervention programme provided another opportunity for strengthening the health care system in Ogun State which was made possible by the partnership with stakeholders like Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA) who supported the state’s efforts by delivering a capacity building training to primary Health Care Professionals (HCPs) on Friday.

Dr. Babatunde Ipaye also revealed some of the measures the state has put in place to improve maternal and child health. One of these according to him is a state funded social insurance scheme popularly called “Araya”. He disclosed that since its inception in 2014, the scheme has enrolled over 23,000 people. The commissioner expressed his appreciation to Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa (NNIA) for providing support towards the delivery of the health mandate of the administration. He also thanked the HCPs for making themselves available for the training and encouraged them not to keep the knowledge to themselves, but also to do well to transfer the same to their family members and colleagues who did not have the opportunity to participate in the training.

Meanwhile, Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa, NNIA is an institute that shares leading science-based information and education with Health Care Professionals. It was founded on the credo that good nutrition begins before birth, continues through the lifecycle and is nurtured by the knowledge and consumption of a nutritionally adequate and appropriate diet. It aims for a future across the African continent where individuals are nourished healthier and live longer lives.

Furthering the understanding of the science of nutrition of the HCPs is envisioned to go a long way in bridging the gap between the science of nutrition and its practical application. Right now, there are over 20,000 Health Care professionals who have registered and benefits on the Nestlé Nutrition Institute Africa’s website.

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