By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Kaduna State Government on Thursday has mobilized wives of Chairmen of the 23 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state to assist in resource mobilization for nutrition intervention at local government level.
Permanent Secretary, Planning and Budget Commission, Mahmoud Yamusa disclosed this at the opening of a one-day advocacy and sensitization meeting in Kaduna with support from UNICEF.
He said the measure to enlist the support of wives of the councils’ chairmen was necessary to bridge the funding gap for nutrition intervention in the state.
Yamusa who was represented by Director Budget, Mrs Phoebe Yayi, said that more than N315 million has been allocated in the 2019 budget for nutrition interventions in the 23 LGAs.
He gave the budget breakdown as follows: N124.9 million for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF); N79.6 million for Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and N110.5 million for capital expenditure on Food and Nutrition program.
He, however, said that the allocation was not enough considering the high number of malnourished children in the state.
According to him, the wives of the council’s chairmen could help in mobilizing for additional funding for nutrition intervention in their various LGAs.
“But more importantly, you could help in facilitating the tracking of the allocated funds to ensure timely release and efficient use of the funds for maximum impact.
“You should equally own nutrition programs in the LGAs and carry out massive sensitization campaign to enlighten mothers, caregivers and community members on appropriate IYCF practices.
“We also expect you to advocate to your husbands on the need to take nutrition activities seriously to check the prevalence of malnutrition and its negative implications on the lives of children.”
The state’s Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, noted that malnutrition indices in the state have remained a public concern.
“Based on the National Nutrition Health Survey, 2018, 22.2 per cent of children under five years in the state are under weight, 15.8 severely malnourished and 1.0 per cent severe and acutely malnourished.
“Similarly, early initiation of breastfeeding is 28.9 per cent, exclusive breastfeeding practices 19.7 per cent, pre-lacteal feed, 51.2 per cent and minimum dietary diversity 28 per cent.
“In the same vein, minimum meal frequency is 42.9 per cent while minimum acceptable diet stands at 12.7 per cent,” Usman said.
She added that 111,183 children under five years in the state were cutely malnourished, of which 63,333 have access to treatment, leaving 47,840 without access to treatment.
She also said that only 11, out of the 23 LGAs are implementing CMAM, adding that the coverage in the 11 LGAs was 50 per cent, as the program covered only five out of the 10 wards in each of the 11 the LGAs.
Also speaking, Dr Idris Baba of UNICEF, Kaduna Field Office, described the meeting as key, considering that as mothers, the wives of council’s chairmen could serve as entry point of nutrition interventions.
Baba said that UNICEF would continue to support the state efforts toward curbing the scourge of malnutrition and prevent children from dying of preventable hunger.
The State Team Lead, Alive and Thrive (FHI 360), Sarah Kwasu, equally said that mobilizing wives of the LGA chairmen was crucial in ensuring that children start strong for a healthy and wealthy nation.
Kwasu said that Alive and Thrive would remain committed to supporting Kaduna state save lives, prevent illness and ensure healthy growth and development through optimal maternal nutrition, breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices.
Similarly, the state coordinator, Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Mr Silas Ideva, called for the activation of Local Government Committee on Nutrition.
This, according to him, will enable the wives of the council’s chairmen participate fully in nutrition activities in their respective LGAs.