By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – A group under the auspice of Save the Children International, (SCI) has commended Kaduna State Government for ensuring a monthly disbursement of N21 million to its 23 Local Government Areas for nutrition interventions.
SCI Nutrition Advocacy Advisor, Mr Isah Ibrahim, who gave the commendation in Kaduna on September 13, 2020, said the development which began in July, would improve food and nutrition interventions in the LGAs.
A total of N565 million was budgeted for nutrition activities by the LGAs in the 2020 budget.
Ibrahim said that a total of N15.1 million had been disbursed from January to May, with only one of the 23 LGAs sustaining the monthly disbursement for nutrition activities.
He added that 14 other LGAs, made disbursement once, others twice and some three times, while the remaining eight LGAs did not release any amount within the period.
He noted that although the low release of the funds in first and second quarters by the LGAs could be attributed to the economic crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, insisting that malnutrition among children must be addressed.
He said that the development prompted SCI’s advocacy to the Ministry of Local Governments Affairs to ensure the release and cash backing of the funds to increase access to nutrition services in communities.
Ibrahim explained that the ministry obliged and decided to deduct the N21 million monthly and distributes to the respective Primary Health Centre Departments of the LGAs through the State Primary Health Care Development Board.
He explained that 15 LGAs implementing Community Management for Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Community Infant and Young Child Feeding (C-IYCF) would be contributing N1.0 million monthly.
He added that the remaining eight LGAs, implementing IYCF would be contributing N750,000 monthly.
“The funds will be utilised for the procurement of drugs for the treatment of malnourished children, transportation of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), payment of community volunteers for CMAM and IYCF.
“The funds will also be used in the monitoring and evaluation of community nutrition interventions, Local Government Areas Food and Nutrition Coordination Meetings and community sensitisation to increase demand for nutrition services.
“It will equally be used for the procurement and distribution of food items for food demonstration at health facilities among other expenses,” he added.
He called for transparency and accountability in the utilisation of the funds to achieve the desired objectives of improving the nutrition status of women and children.
He thanked the state government for providing the needed space and platforms for development partners to contribute to human capital development in the state.
He also thanked the Commissioner for Local Government Affairs, Ja’afaru Sani and Mrs Aisha-Ummi El-Rufai, Chairperson, Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, for their efforts toward improving the lives of women and children.
He equally thanked the Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Local Government Affairs, Malam Musa Adamu, for promising to sustain local government budget for nutrition intervention in the 2021 budget.