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Otu Approves Launch of State Nutrition Policy, Pledges Enhanced Commitment

Governor Bassey Edet Otu of Cross River has approved a state policy on nutrition, pledging his administration's readiness to improve on nutritional statistics across the state.

Speaking when he granted audience to the Management of the State Planning Commission and UNICEF Field Officer Abuja, who paid him a familiarisation visit in his office, the Governor, represented by the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, disclosed that the state has budgeted about N180m for nutritional activities which is far above what was asked while assuring that the state is fine with the suggested date for the policy launch.

According to the Governor, the state is not happy with the ugly data presented as the situation in Cross River and vowed that government will do everything possible to change the situation 360 degree and reduce the negative data to zero, adding that Cross Riverians are resilient people.

On the issue of extending maternity leave with pay for nursing mothers from 4 to 6 months, he said the issue requires more discussions with stakeholders but it is not beyond the State to handle.

Leading the discussion, the Permanent Secretary, State Planning Commission, Dr. Peter Uklala, said the state is ready to launch her nutrition policy courtesy of UNICEF which mid-wived the process and solicited the Governor's approval of Monday, March 25th 2024 as a day for the launch.

Dr. Uklala used the medium to thanked the Governor for his unprecedented support to the commission.

Earlier, the UNICEF Field Officer Abuja, Dr. Ngozi Onuora, a nutrition specialist, commended the government for the progress made in the area of education and the political will demonstrated in investing on child protection, adding that, UNICEF is strengthening capacity on the promotion of nutritional activities.

According to her the state has done well in child's right, but on exclusive breast feeding, the state data was very low, adding that there are 8 states in UNICEF Enugu Field Office and 3 are of priority which includes Cross River, Benue and Enugu.

She lamented that the low performance of the State which records 23% STUNTING in children UNDER 5 due to SEVERE acute malnutrition can affect the children productivity level negatively in life.

By Ndifreke Bassey, The Beagle News