Wife of Akwa Ibom State Governor Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel has assured of government budgetary allocation and timely release of funds for maternal nutrition, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices and interventions in the state.

Mrs. Emmanuel gave the assurance while addressing participants during her investiture as the No.1 NUTRITION CHAMPION in Akwa Ibom state by the United Nation International and Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Rivers state field office at a two-day advocacy/orientation meeting in Uyo.

The governor’s wife who spoke “On Investment in Nutrition (Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices), Key to Sustainable Development in Akwa Ibom State and South-South States” said malnutrition among women and children is a major challenge to health and human development of any country.

“Malnourished children have an increased risk of disability and premature death and are highly predisposed to infectious diseases. Unfortunately, Nigeria is haunted with a very high record of under-five deaths every year. This high figure is traceable to malnutrition as the underlying cause of about 53percent of child deaths in Nigeria.”

The wife of the State Chief Executive added that it is worrisome to note the stunning statistical data from the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2013 which put under-five years’ children mortality rate in Nigeria at 128 per 1,000 live-births assuring that on her part, she will works towards ensuring the scourge is eliminated.

“To address this situation, my pet project FEYReP, had on its part begun a systematic process of eliminating the prevalence of malnutrition and infant mortality through enlightenment campaign. We will further embark on training our women in mechanized farming to ensure we feed ourselves well.”

In his remarks, Dr. Bamidele Omotala who represented the UNICEF country director said his organization is at the vanguard of championing the rights of women and children, adding that it is heartwarming to note that the pet project of the Akwa Ibom State governor’s wife is in tandem with the set goals and objectives of UNICEF.

In her goodwill message, Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly member Hon. Mfon Ekong assured of proper legislation towards ensuring that women and children are properly nourished.

Also goodwill messages from the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr. Glory Edet and her Economic Development and Manpower counterpart Mr. Idoreyin Udoh, thanked the governor and wife for providing enabling environment for women and children to thrive in their endeavors and as well appreciated UNICEF for choosing Akwa Ibom state to host the meeting.