By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Kaduna State Nutrition Officer, Mrs Ramatu Musa, has appealed to Chairmen of the 23 Local Government Councils of the state to ensure timely release of budgetary allocations for nutrition interventions.
She made the call in Kaduna on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at the opening of a one-day Review Meeting with Nutrition Focal Persons from the 23 LGAs of the state.
The State Nutrition Officer said that the Ministry of Local Government had allocated more than N500 million in the 2020 budget for nutrition sensitive and nutrition specific interventions.
She explained that the allocations covered curative interventions in Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites, as well as promotion of appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices as preventive measures.
According to her, timely release of budgetary allocation matched with cash backing will enable the nutrition focal persons in the LGAs to implement planned nutrition interventions and programmes.
“This will go a long way in reducing the burden of malnutrition in the LGAs which has recently increased due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and insufficient release of funds,” she said.
Musa said that the meeting was organised to review CMAM and IYCF services, share achievements, challenges and validate nutrition data from the LGAs.
She added that the meeting was also convened to discuss integration of Vitamin A and deworming services into the primary healthcare outreach services.
She called on the Health Management Information System officers and Directors of Health in the LGAs to support their nutrition focal persons to ensure efficient and quality nutrition service delivery.
Also, Dr Zakari Adam, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, hailed the State Primary Health Care Development Agency for partnering with UNICEF and other partners to provide uninterrupted nutrition services to women and children.
Adam who was represented by the Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, added that the review would help highlight achievements recorded so far and outline areas that needed more attention.
Contributing, Malam Isah Ibrahim, Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Save the Children International, commended the local governments’ nutrition focal persons for sustaining nutrition services throughout the COVID-19 lockdown.
Ibrahim said that the effort was laudable considering the risk and challenges occasioned by COVID-19, adding that the uninterrupted services had improved the chances of survival of malnourished children.
Similarly, Mr Silas Ideva, Coordinator, Civil Society–Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), commended the nutrition focal persons for their selfless service to malnourished children.
Ideva urged the officials to ensure the needed quality in nutrition data generation and management to provide a clearer picture of malnutrition situation in the state.
On her part, Dr Zainab Muhammad-Idris, Project Manager, World Bank-supported Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN), urged the nutrition focal persons to remain dedicated to their duty.
Muhammad-Idris said that ANRiN project would continue to improve the capacity of nutrition and health officers to deliver quality nutrition services to women and children.