By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Kaduna State Chapter of Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria,(CS-SUNN), has sought partnership of United Nations Children’s Fund, (UNICEF ), and Alive and Thrive to strengthen fight against malnutrition in the state.
CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, said during a visit to UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office that the state and development partners had invested huge resources in fighting malnutrition with little success.
According to him, malnutrition is declining at a very slow rate in spite of all the policy documents, strategies and resources being expended to tackle the scourge.
“It is on this ground that CS-SUNN wishes to partner with UNICEF and other development partners in the state to synergize efforts to address malnutrition.
“We have members in various local government areas and communities carrying out one activity or the other, which could be used in reaching out to parents and community members,” he said.
The coordinator identified National Youth Service Scheme as a strong structure that could be used to change the behaviour of mothers, caregivers and community members toward adequate nutritional practices for children.
Ideva explained that CS-SUNN was considering utilizing Corps members in community mobilization, in line with the peer group model used, in reducing the prevalence of HIV among young people in the country.
According to him, partnering with UNICEF will make this a reality, considering the commitment of UNICEF toward protecting nutritional interest of the child.
Responding, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, UNICEF’s Nutrition Specialist, thanked CS-SUNN for the visit and described it as timely.
Ezeife, however, noted that indeed, the result being achieved in turning around the nutrition indices in the state was not commensurate with the amount of resources being expended.
According to her, harmonization and consolidation of efforts among development partners will go a long way in ensuring that expected results are achieved.
“There is no significant reduction in cases of malnutrition in the state in spite of several interventions. This calls for a strong synergy among partners to redesign strategies and approaches, where necessary, to effect the needed change.
“I am sure your partnership will strengthen our collective interest in supporting Kaduna state to address its malnutrition challenges, to save our children from untimely death and distorted growth,” she said.
In a similar development, the CS-SUNN team a paid visit to the State Office of Alive and Thrive, another partner working to improve the nutrition situation in the state.
During the visit, Ideva told officials of the NGO that the team was in its office to strengthen partnership and look for additional areas of collaboration on maternal and child nutrition.
He recalled that CS-SUNN was part of the advocacy team along with Alive and Thrive to the state’s Head of Service, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and other unions as well as policy makers.
The coordinator explained that the advocacy was to push for six months maternity leave for working class mothers and the establishment of crèches in work places.
“We can still do more in pushing for policy measures that will ensure conducive environment for working mothers to practice adequate breastfeeding for the development of the child,” he said.
Responding, Alive and Thrive state’s Programme Officer, Mr Abubakar Musa, said that the state government had made commitment toward adopting the six months maternity leave.
“We will continue to push until it becomes a reality, I assure you that Alive and Thrive will continue to work with CS-SUNN in this area and other areas of maternal and child health,”he assured.