CISLAC and others collaborate to enhance food fortification solutions

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CISLAC and others collaborate to enhance food fortification solutions
CISLAC and others collaborate to enhance food fortification solutions

With the rising occurrences of malnutrition and foodborne illnesses leading to illness and fatalities in Nigeria, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) has joined forces with eHealth Africa and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) to address the issue and enhance food fortification in Nigeria’s food sector.

This collaborative effort was showcased during a webinar organized by NESG under the theme “Impact of Food Fortification Compliance: A Case for Industrial Fortification.”

Dr. Michael Ojo, the Country Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), explained that this partnership, supported by GAIN, aims to promote advocacy around food fortification compliance.

Efforts to encourage dndustrial fortification and combat micronutrient

It seeks to identify initiatives and develop actionable recommendations that encourage industrial fortification. Nigeria, endowed with abundant agricultural resources, faces the challenge of micronutrient deficiency, which carries significant socio-economic implications.

Dr. Ojo acknowledged the government’s policy actions to promote fortification of staple foods and entrusted agencies such as the National Food Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), and the Federal Competition & Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) with the responsibility of ensuring adherence and monitoring producers for fortification compliance.

During the panel discussion, Penjani Mkambula, the Global Programme Lead for Food Fortification at GAIN, emphasized the positive impact of fortification over the years.

Fortification has not only reduced micronutrient deficiencies but has also alleviated certain disease burdens and medical conditions, such as the reduction of Goitre through the introduction of iodized salt.

However, Senator Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, a Health System Development Expert, highlighted that malnutrition remains a persistent obstacle to the country’s development.

He noted that while people at the household level may recognize malnutrition, they often struggle to associate it with dietary issues rather than spiritual concerns.

Factors like culture, dietary habits, family power dynamics, socio-economic conditions, and environmental factors can significantly influence or contribute to malnutrition.