By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Nutrition stakeholders in Kaduna State have advocated for the inclusion of nutrition services in the state’s Contributory Health Management Scheme.
The Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children, Kaduna Office, Mallam Isah Ibrahim, said in Kaduna on Monday that the step would help to increase demand and uptake of nutrition services.
He commended the state government for establishing the contributory health insurance scheme to enhance access to quality health services.
He, however, expressed concern that nutrition services were not covered by the scheme, describing the development as counterproductive to the fight against malnutrition.
“Kaduna State Government has demonstrated a strong commitment to universal health. This represents a great opportunity to ensure that children, adolescent girls and women can gain access to nutrition services during ante-natal care, post-natal, health promotion platforms and delivery period.
“Stunting and iodine and iron deficiencies combined with inadequate cognitive stimulation, are the leading risk factors contributing to the failure of many children to attain their full development potential.
“But after a deep study of the scheme, we realised, unfortunately that nutrition services were not covered by it.
“This is even as the state is among the most vulnerable states in Nigeria with high burden of malnutrition, which impacts negatively on cognitive development of children under five years,” he said in a statement.
He explained that the stakeholders had visited the Director-General, State Contributory Health Management Authority, (KADCHMA), Mr Aliyu Sani, on the need for the scheme to consider the expansion of the programme to cover nutrition services.
Ibrahim identified the stakeholders as Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, (KADENAP), Kaduna State Primary Health Care Development Agency, UNICEF and Save the Children International.
“There is need to ensure that essential nutrition services and treatment needed for optimal growth and development of children with particular focus on children from 0 to 59 months and pregnant and lactating women.
“Some of the recommended nutrition services are: growth monitoring and promotion, routine vitamin A supplement for children six to 59 months, and maternal, infant and young child feeding counseling package.
“There is also the need for the treatment of acute malnourished children,” Ibrahim said.
He thanked stakeholders for their concern towards supporting the scheme to have a sound foundation.
The Kaduna State Government had on January 24, inaugurated Kaduna State Contributory Health Management Authority.
Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai had described the scheme as a social protection scheme, aimed at improving health outcomes. It also aim at reducing household poverty, as well as insulating the poor and vulnerable from catastrophic healthcare costs.