During the campaign in the last election, I saw an email from a Pro-Buhari group based in the USA that was asking for donations to send to Nigeria to support Buhari’s campaign. The email appeal mentioned that in the past, schools offered free lunches to primary school students. For some children, that school lunch was their best meal of the day but now most school children do not receive that free lunch privilege.
Even the schools that provide school lunches do not offer a balanced diet. A nutritional diet is critical to the performance of children at school. Currently, the majority of students bring lunch packs to school but most of them also have poor nutritional value. I did some research and came across a study of Nutritional Contents of Lunch Packs of Primary School Children in Nnewi, Nigeria. The data shows that there is a high malnutrition of school children.
The Federal Government of Nigeria, in the realization of the critical role of nutrition to education, launched the Home Grown School Feeding and Health Programme (HGSFHP) in 2005, in collaboration with UNICEF, WFP, New Partnership for African Development and other international development partners.[4,10,13] The aim of HGSFHP was to provide a nutritionally adequate meal during school hours while boosting food production by local farmers in the 12 pilot states. Unfortunately, only Osun state is still implementing the program.[10,13] Thus, in most parts of Nigeria, it is the sole responsibility of parents to provide food for their children while in school. On the contrary, more than 94% of schools (both public and private) in U.S.A. participate in the National School Lunch Program, which ensures that every child in school is served a nutritious and balanced meal in compliance with the United States Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines for Americans.
The chart provides a breakdown of the students who bring a lunch pack to school and the content of their food. The federal government should work with the states to provide students with a balanced nutritional lunch as we see in other countries. I want to share photos of what school lunches look like from other parts of the world.
Have you lived or visited another country and saw something that made you wish things were done similar in Nigeria? Share The Frustration.
DISCLAIMER: Like most of the Share The Frustration posts, not everywhere in Nigeria has these issues. However, it happens enough times to different people that it is still worth sharing and hopefully things will get better.
Citation: Ugochukwu, EF et al. “Nutritional Contents of Lunch Packs of Primary School Children in Nnewi, Nigeria.” Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research4.Suppl 2 (2014): S108–S114. PMC. Web