By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Friday called on the Kaduna State Government to strengthen its nutrition intervention delivery system.
CS-SUNN’s Project Assistant, Mr Isaac Dare, made the call in Zaria at the ongoing five-day training, organised by Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission, supported by CS-SUNN.
The training was organised to build capacity of the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, (SCFN), on leadership, change management and effective nutrition coordination.
Dare described nutrition system as ‘the interactions among actors, sectors, disciplines and determinants of nutrition’, stressing the need to strengthen the component units to improve effectiveness of the system.
He commended the state government for the various steps taken to address the scourge of malnutrition in the state, particularly the development and implementation of various nutrition policies and programmes.
He, nonetheless, called on SCFN to apply system thinking and system approach to addressing malnutrition in the state.
According to him, the multi-factorial causation of malnutrition requires a multi-sectoral approach, adding that strong collaboration among several sectors and actors is needed to build a well-nourished society.
Also speaking, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, said that the state’s nutrition system would remain weak if interventions by government agencies, development partners and other actors were not well coordinated.
According to him, strong coordination is required to unify and synchronize the efforts of all stakeholders in the quest to improve the nutrition indices of the state.
“Effective coordination of nutrition intervention, which is the major mandate of the SCFN is crucial in winning the war against malnutrition.
“This is because the committee is expected to bring all nutrition stakeholders together to act as an entity in responding to nutrition issues in the state.”
Ideva, therefore, advised that all categories of stakeholders; the core; the supportive; the periphery, and the involved should be engaged in the planning and implementation of nutrition intervention for maximum impact.
Similarly, the state’s Programme Manager, Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, decried the absence of Nutrition Information System (NIS) in most ministries, department and agencies in the state.
Muhammad-Idris described NIS as “a system of continuous collection and interpretation of nutrition-related data to enable timely decision making to improve the nutrition situation of a population.”
She added that the major objective of the NIS was to use nutrition data to support timely warnings for short-term prevention, preparedness and response.
On his part, Mr Kunle Ishola of CS-SUNN harped on evidence-based advocacy for improved nutrition funding in the state.
In a presentation entitled “Translating Research to Action”, Ishola urged nutrition-centred civil society organisations to use available research findings to engage policy makers.
“It is very important that advocates have a clear understanding of the kinds of research needed to get policy makers to take the right decision on issues around funding,” he said.