Micronutrient deficiencies have been an enduring problem in Nigeria. The prevalence of Vitamin A deficiency is estimated at 30% and 70% of children are anaemic. Previously micronutrient deficiency control (MNDC) efforts were limited. A national policy framework was developed with the aim of building a common vision to address the micronutrient deficiencies in a sustainable manner.
In 2014, the Federal Ministry of Health organised a series of technical consultations and national and regional workshops with nutrition stakeholders, including all State governments, members of academia, NGOs, UN organisations and donors, to develop the National MNDC guideline. The MNDC taskforce was established in 2015 to coordinate and design new initiatives and review the implementation of MNDC activities.
Micronutrient powder, zinc supplementation and bio-fortification were endorsed within the national framework. The taskforce was influential in the developing a consortium to undertake formative research on MNP, forging consensus on how to scale up MNP nationally. The platform has also enabled partners to support the Government to implement the bi-annual maternal, new-born and child health week campaign.
Nigerias guideline is a novel policy document, it promotes an integrated approach with both nutrition sensitive and specific interventions. The process of developing the framework help to forge an enabling environment, empowering the Government to take a lead in addressing micronutrient deficiencies. In line with the principles of the SUN movement, this institutional framework enables stakeholders to work together to accelerate the reduction of micronutrient deficiencies in Nigeria.