By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – The Kaduna State Government has approved the release of N500 million for the procurement of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for the treatment of acute malnutrition.
The Project Manager, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), Umar Bambale, made this known at a One-day Nutrition Partners’ Second Quarter Coordination and Review Meeting in Kaduna on Tuesday.
Bambale said that the amount had been approved within the second quarter, adding that KADENAP was awaiting the release of the funds to finalise the procurement process.
He added that the government had also released N134 million within the quarter to KADENAP for the implementation of nutrition programmes.
He explained that the RUTF was an energy-dense, mineral- and vitamin-enriched food, specifically designed to treat severe acute malnourished children.
He disclosed that the number of new admissions of severe acute malnourished children at the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites have increased from 2,796 in the first quarter to 8,157 in the second quarter.
The project manager also said that the number of children treated also increased from 2,730 in the first quarter to 4,631 in the second quarter due to the availability of RUTF at CMAM centres.
He added that three children were lost to the disease in the first quarter and 28 in the second quarter.
According to him, the government is making necessary efforts to sensitize mothers and caregivers on good nutrition practices.
“So far, 40,584 mothers and caregivers were reached with nutrition messages in the first quarter while 26,990 were reached in the second quarter.”
Mr Salisu Baba, Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, said that the government was working with development partners to optimise utilisation of resources.
According to him, the measure will help eliminate duplication of efforts and spread intervention on nutrition across the state to maximum result.
“The meeting is also to receive updates and reports on nutrition interventions implemented by partners in the second quarter and share innovative ideas to improve nutrition programming in the state.”
Nutrition Specialist, Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN), Mrs Hauwa Usman, said is implementing nutrition and health intervention at community level in the 23 local government areas of the state.
Usman explained that the objective was to increase utilisation of quality, cost-effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children under five years in the state.
According to her, the goal is to reduce chronic malnutrition and reduce maternal, child mortality rates and, in the long run, increase school completion, performance, and improve labour force productivity; pointing out that the implementation of the project had commenced in all the LGAs.
Similarly, the State Coordinator, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Ms Jessica Bartholomew, reiterated her group’s commitment to continue its advocacy for improved nutrition funding and utilisation.
Bartholomew said that the group had supported the state government to organise a policy dialogue on nutrition in the second quarter.
She added that CS-SUNN also supported the printing and dissemination of the state Food and Nutrition Policy and the Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition.