advocates new structure to fight child starvation
In order to reduce malnutrition, the Kano State Government has set aside about N224 million from N368 million budgeted for health to treat 280,000 children suffering from starvation in the state.
Kano State Deputy Governor, Prof. Abubakar Hafiz disclosed this on Tuesday during a panel discussion on Nutrition and Launch of the Agric Sector Food Security and Nutrition Strategy organised by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in partnership with the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition in Abuja.
He said the 280, 000 children were only drawn from six local governments in the state.
He advocated for the establishment of a new agency to coordinate activities from Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to tackle the scourge.
The Deputy Governor described malnutrition as a multi-sectoral issue that deserves multi-sectoral but more coordinated approach.
He said: “In our approved budget. We have about N368m for health but we are using N224 million to treat 280, 000 malnourished children in 6 local governments. So the communities must try to own the interventions. They must participate so that we can succeed.”
“Food security and nutrition are inseparable in Nigeria and one of the major cause of malnutrition is food security at the household level.
“These two items are multi-sectoral in nature so there is need for multi-sectoral collaboration. I still believe we need to make sure there is a multi-sectoral coordination body either in the ministry or as a new structure,” he added.
He explained that the issue of malnutrition was not well addressed in the states unlike the sincerity the Federal Government attached to the issue.
Speaking on domestication of the document, the Kano state Deputy Governor, Chief Nutritionist for the Department for Internal Development (DFID), Ms. Melkamnesh Alemu and the Executive Director, Scaling Up Nutrition, Dr. Philippa Momah expressed concern on how the federal government, especially through the agric ministry could domesticate the report.
In her remarks, the Senior Advisor on Food Security and Nutrition to the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Adeyinka Onabolu said the ministry attempted to engage the inter-ministerial group but suffered some challenges from the members.
She explained that each of the MDAs has the possibility of addressing the issue from their perspectives rather than a holistic approach.
“Each MDAs have the tendency to protect our territory. So long we want to continue to do that, we may not be able to carry the agenda of food security forward.
“On the coordination, I don’t understand the rules in the civil service but it’s better we go back and revisit the coordination mechanism domiciled in the ministry of budget, so we can realise the food nutrition strategy,” she noted.
However, Onabolu emphasised need for a sustainable approach stressing that the current approach to practising agriculture in the country cannot guarantee food and nutritional needs except through the Food Security and Nutrition Strategy
“Integrate nutrition into the value chain and perceiving food security as human right,” she added.
In her remarks, the Director, Global Panel, Prof. Sandy Thomas called for good capacity building and better sensitisation against the scourge of malnutrition.
According to her, the Global Panel was established to produce evidence based recommendations to inform policy on food nutrition.
She called for more attention on agricultural nutritional productivity for women and children beyond just increasing production.
Director of Family Health, Dr. Adebimpe Adebiyi represented the Minister of Health, Dr. Isaac Adewole.