The WHO Council on the Economics of Health for All has found that at least 140 countries recognize health as a human right in their constitution. Yet countries are not passing and putting into practice laws to ensure their populations are entitled to access health services. This underpins the fact that at least 4.5 billion people (more than half of the world’s population) were not fully covered by essential health services in 2021.

As a nutrition-focused organization, the food bank recognizes the importance of nutrition, as it plays a vital role in maintaining good health. In a bid to curb hunger and malnutrition to its barest minimum, Lagos Food Bank Initiative remains committed to fighting the prevalence of malnutrition and diet-related diseases within vulnerable communities while promoting food security through strategic programs.

In line with SDG’s 2 and 3; Zero Hunger, and Good Health and Well-Being, the food bank maintains its mission to provide sufficient and nutritious food to improve the health  and general well-being of the vulnerable populace through the following nutritional programs below.

The Nutritious Meal Plan Intervention for Vulnerable Mothers and Children initiative of  Lagos Food Bank seeks to improve the condition of undernourished and malnourished babies and their lactating mothers by providing adequate counseling on nutrition and hygiene for both infants and breastfeeding mothers, while also supporting them with nutritious food items for their nourishment.

Considering that in Nigeria malnutrition is a major issue affecting 35 million children under five, with 12 million stunted, 3 million wasted, and 23.5 million anemic. The 2023 Cadre Report revealed 17.7 million hungry people, with one million suffering from acute food insecurity. Malnutrition (undernourishment) in children and adults increased just as the annual inflation rate increased between 2008 and 2023.

Severe malnutrition is a widespread concern, affecting numerous children and leading to

devastating consequences, particularly due to food insecurity. Shockingly, almost half of all deaths in children under 5 are linked to undernutrition, according to UNICEF. Undernourished children are more vulnerable to common infections, face increased risks of severe illnesses, and experience delays in recovery.

Through the NUMEPLAN program the food bank ensures nutritional support, education, and resources to help break the vicious cycle of malnutrition and undernourishment to improve overall health outcomes in babies and lactating mothers.

Also, through the Nutrition Intervention for Diabetes Self-management, an initiative of the food bank that focuses on solving the problem of food insecurity and poor dietary intake among people living with diabetes (PLWD or PLD) in low-income communities, adequate counseling on nutrition and lifestyle, and medical check ups for beneficiaries of this program are made available, along with food items that support diabetes diet to help manage the disease.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the prevalence of diabetes in Nigeria is 4.3% and this is attributed to lifestyle changes brought about by urbanization and its consequences, including the production of unhealthy diets such as sugar-sweetened drinks, reduced physical activity, tobacco consumption, and the harmful use of alcohol.

Through viable partnerships with 42 PHCs (Primary Healthcare Centers) across various LGAs in Lagos including LUTH (Lagos University Teaching Hospital) for the purpose of referring malnourished babies with their mothers and PLDs to the food bank, the food bank ensures it improves the health of as many vulnerable people for their sustenance.