By; JULIANA KATUNG, Kaduna
As malnutrition and nutrition related morbidity continue to be of public health concerns in Nigeria, despite some progress made over the past decade, Kaduna State Government has been called upon to appropriate more funds to relevant nutrition sectors on the implementation of State Food and nutrition policy as part of steps to eradicate malnutrition in the state.
“Kaduna State is one of the vulnerable States in terms of nutrition indices
in Nigeria. According to minimum inhibitory concentration MICs 2017, 27.9% (three out of ten) under 5 children in Kaduna State are severely stunted, while 47.0% are moderately stunted.”
The called was made by the Nutrition Advocacy Advisor of Save the Children, and also Gates Nutrition Advocacy advisor, Isah Ibrahim when he led his the team of the NGO on an advocacy visit to the Kaduna State House Assembly.
Malam Isah said the aim of their visit to the assembly was to get the nod of the government to ensure domestic resources are mobilised, allocated and utilised fully for the implementation of Nutrition Programmes in the State.
“With 50% death of below the age of five children in the country caused by
malnutrition year in year out, the parliament can save the Children lives during term in office, by increasing allocation and ensuring specified utilisation of resources for the implementation of Nutrition sensitive and specific in the State, and the rates regarding the three
Infant and Young Child Feeding indicators are low with about three new born out of ten (28.9%) getting the first milk within one hour of birth, two out of ten (19.7%) are exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life while 61.3% of children within 6-23 months are optimally fed”, he. noted.
According to him, the Kaduna State House of Assembly are in the House to do the best they can for the people they are representing particularly the vulnerable members of their respective constituencies.
He added that challenges are faced in making effort to eradicate malnutrion
as only limited financial resources are made available or released for interventions in the state which according to SSPAN, the state in 2019 is committed to invest the sum of over N1.5 billion for the implementation of activities planned, but only N270 million was proposed for nutrition intervention in the 2019 state budget.
Malam Isah also explained that there is low coverage of many essential nutrition interventions including inadequate Community Management Accute Malnutrition services centres in the
state as well as very few professionals who are in existence to provide high quality technical support towards addressing malnutrition at community and local government levels.
The NGO therefore called on the state Assembly to expand their oversight function to CMAM centers in the state in order to have a first hand experience and mothers testimony on impact of malnutrition to their families as well as create a specific nutrition budget lines across key nutrition related MDAs as well as allocate adequate funds for the nutrition component in a sustained manner both at the state and LGA levels in accordance with the State Food and Nutrition Policy, State Plan of Action on Nutrition and other nutrition related State Strategic Plans.
Responding, the house chairman committee on health, Dr. Isaac Zankhai,
(kauru constituency) said malnutrition is a very serious menace as stunting causes under development of the brain.
He noted hat the first two years of a child is a critical one, and many people have the misconception that all malnourished children are that of the poor, which is not so, but
application of knowledge of using balanced diet in the right manner.
He assured them that the assembly will do its best to ensure that the the committee which they are advocating for is been set off but also encourage them to come up with the bill to support the enactment of a breastfeeding law to enforce a six month maternity leave and guarantee child nutrition in line with the international labour organisation minimum standard for breastfeeding female workers.