At least 13 per cent of Nigerian children risk growing up with mental deformity unless proper level of iodine is made part of their nutrition, says Babatunde Oguntona, who therefore calls on the Nigerian government to pay greater attention to public health.
“If we don’t keep iodine levels proper, we’ll have 13% of Nigerian children mentally deformed,” Oguntona said at the weekend in Lagos at a one-day nutrition symposium themed: ‘Malnutrition, Child Development and the Media’ organised by the Media Centre Against Child Malnutrition (MeCAM); a media advocacy group working against child malnutrition.
“Imagine 13 percent of parliamentarians [being] mentally deformed. Inadequate iodine in our food is a serious threat. You can’t talk of development when you ignore the nutritional status of your people,” he added, rapping the Nigerian authorities for their poor response to the threats of malnutrition.
Oguntona, a former president of the Nutrition Society of Nigeria, said between 13 and 18 Nigerian children die of malnutrition and related diseases every hour calling on the media to step up its advocacy on the issue.
Ivy Ibiso King-Harry, an associate at the Scaling Up Nutrition Business Network, said the media have a duty to promote messages on nutrition. She added however that such media reports must flow from proper understanding of the science of nutrition and effective delivery of messages in a language understood by people at the grassroots.