Nigeria is a nation situated in the Western region of the continent of Africa. Officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, it comprises of thirty-six states and one Federal Capital Territory.
The uniqueness of Nigeria as a country is the diversity of its people. Hundreds of languages are spoken in the country, including but not limited to Yoruba, Igbo, Fulani, Hausa, Edo, Ibibio, Ijaw, Tiv, and English.
The country has abundant natural resources, notably large deposits of petroleum, timber and natural gas. Nigeria also has a vibrant populace.
With a population of over 200 million inhabitants, the country is the seventh-largest in the world by population; and the most populous in Africa. With 5.5 live births per woman and a population growth rate of 3.2 percent annually, it is estimated to reach 440 million people by 2050.
One would think that with such a large pool of human and natural resources, economic growth and GDP (gross domestic product), the country would be at the top ten of the world economies. However, the reverse is the case.
The nation is steeped in insurgency, followed by wanton misuse of government funds.
Reports from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in their Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC), revealed that 48 million individuals of the world’s starving population are Nigerians.
In addition, reports from the World Bank indicate that over 86 million individuals live on $1.90 per day. Which means many families have little or no access to monetary aid.
With such meagre funds, an individual cannot purchase a healthy meal, and this invartiably leads to nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient deficiency is simply the lack, or deficit, of a nutrient in the human body. It occurs when the body doesn’t absorb or get proper nutrients from food, or the required amount of a nutrient from a meal.
The body requires many different vitamins, minerals and proteins that are crucial for both body development and preventing disease. This means the human body essentially requires a healthy meal to function at optimum performance. Unfortunately, many families rarely have nutritious meals, and the ones that do, feed on meals devoid of essential nutrients.
Fortunately, there are several solutions that can be implemented to alleviate the effects of nutrient deficiency on the vast population of Nigeria.
First, the government needs to fund efforts to make nutritious foods affordable and available, expand the existing school feeding programme to cover every child in school and actively work with individuals to create awareness through relevant agencies and departments of government.
Second, the government needs to increase its investments in healthcare and health institutions. Consistent support of the government for the health sector and its affiliates will enable better medical supplies to reach the citizens. The healthier the population, the better the economy.
Finally, sensitizations on family planning must be carried out regularly, to ensure proper child spacing and population control. This will help in reducing nutrient deficiency in the nation.
Nutrient Deficiency will certainly be eradicated.
Reginald Onabu, Researcher and aspiring Public Relations Officer, Wrote from Lagos.