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Some of the world's richest people have teamed up in the fight against malnutrition in Nigeria. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote on Thursday (January 21) pledged $100m (£70.92m) to fight malnutrition in Nigeria. The partnership between the two foundations was announced at a news conference in Nigeria's capital Abuja.
More than half a million children in Nigeria face severe malnutrition in a humanitarian crisis that has largely gone unnoticed. One in five Nigerian children are malnourished and more than one in three children suffer from stunted growth making them the highest number of stunted children in Africa and the second highest globally. Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote said the Dangote Foundation and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will work towards reducing the number of malnourished children.
"The Dangote and Bill and Melinda Gates partnerships, both foundations now have clear and feasible nutrition strategies and will work collaboratively to address the problem of under nutrition in Nigeria until the year 2020 and beyond. The partnership will commit the sum of $100m to addressing malnutrition in Nigeria between now and 2020," he said.
The two foundations said they will work closely with the government, private sector and civil societies as they have done for other health projects. They plan to fortify staple foods with essential micro-nutrients using a community based approach. Dangote also announced plans to produce food supplements that will support the project. Co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill Gates says it is time to intervene and eliminate malnutrition in Nigeria.
"For every child who dies there are four to five children who survived and yet because of malnutrition they never developed physically and mentally, and so the key resource of Nigeria which is its young population and the incredible capabilities that can be unleashed from all those people is greatly damaged if we don't solve malnutrition," Gates said.
"So this is a new emphasis on nutrition, I think we can have a very big impact here. You know we started discussion with the government on how we partner together on these things as part of the trip I had here and so we have a high expectation for what we can do," Gates added.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed billions towards eradicating polio in Nigeria.