The public health significance of micronutrient deficiencies worldwide is classified as severe and the reason is not far-fetched. While micronutrients such as vitamin A, zinc, Iron, folic acid and iodine are required in small amounts for proper growth and development, their deficiency in the body comes with great consequences. For instance, a United Nations Children’s Fund (’s) report revealed that every day in Nigeria, 2,300 under-five year old children die, with malnutrition being the underlying cause of more than half of these deaths. Also, micronutrient deficiencies have been identified as significant problems that have persisted over time in the country.
The recent Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS 2018) data showed that 68 per cent of children six to 59 months of age and 58 per cent of women of reproductive age in Nigeria are anemic, with at least a third of the anemia attributable to iron deficiency. The report also revealed that the prevalence of anemia among children age 12 to 17 months is 81 per cent. For zinc deficiency, a report by the National Nutrition and Health Survey (NNHS 2015), shows that the national prevalence is estimated at 20 per cent. Based on this evidence, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF recommend zinc with Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) in the treatment for diarrhea. Despite these alarming statistics, The NNHS 2018 report showed that only 40.8 per cent of children age six to 59 months received vitamin A and only 40.4 per cent of children age 12 to 59 month were dewormed. Leadership