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Kaduna, Aug. 23, 2022 The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) says on Tuesday that Kaduna State needs N6.4 billion to treat 96,488 severe acutely malnourished children in the state.
CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, Ms Jessica Bartholomew made this known in Kaduna, during an advocacy visit to the management of Kaduna State Media Corporation (KSMC).
Naija247news reports that the advocacy visit was organised by the State Committee on Food and Nutrition (SCFN) with support from CS-SUNN to push for increase investments in nutrition sector.
Bartholomew explained that children under five years constituted more than two million of the over 10 million estimated population of the state.
She said that of the figure, 4.8 per cent, representing 96,488 of the children were severe and acutely malnourished.
The coordinator said that of the N6.4 billion required to treat the children, the government had budgeted N2.3 billion in its 2022 budget, leaving a gap of N4.1 billion, representing 64 per cent deficit.
She stressed the need for increased investments in the nutrition sub-sector to boost human capital development in the state.
Ms Linda Yakubu, Director, Development Aid Coordination in the state Planning and Budget Commission, said that the visit was to strengthen collaboration with KSMC to amplify nutrition issues and promote good nutrition practice.
Yakubu, who led the delegation, said that the media was critical to the success of nutrition programmes in the state.
According to her, the media will not only sensitise members of the public but will equally promote good nutrition practices among children and women for healthy growth and development.
“KSMC is one of the committee’s partners but we want to do more to reach out to more parents and caregivers in any part of the state with critical information on ways to prevent malnutrition.
“The state is also implementing various nutrition programmes and projects that we want residents of the state to be aware of and how to access such services.
“We are, therefore, soliciting for a stronger partnership with KSMC to provide the needed platform to sensitise residents on malnutrition and promote good nutrition practices among women, adolescent and children.’’
She called for the creation of budget line for nutrition sensitive activities in the 2023 budget to enable KSMC implement public enlightenment programmes.
The Assistant State Nutrition Officer, Mr Adams George, said that the nutrition situation in the state was a huge cause of concern considering the number of malnourished children in the state.
George added that partnership and collaboration with relevant government agencies and development partners were critical to the successes of nutrition programmes in the state.
Mr Sani Hassan, Technical Adviser to Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan on Nutrition, urged KSMC to help in bridging the gap between knowledge and practice of Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (MIYCN) practices.
Hassan also urged the corporation to use their various programmes to promote Exclusive Breastfeeding and to establish crèche for breastfeeding working mothers to practice exclusive breastfeeding.
Mrs Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna, also solicited for more space to promote MIYCN practices that would address knowledge gap including mobilising men to support.
Responding, the Managing Director, KSMC, Malam Ibrahim Ismail-Ahmed, acknowledged the efforts of the state government to address the problem of malnutrition.
Ismail-Ahmed, who was represented by Director Programmes, Mrs Esther Kozah, pledged continued support to the SCFN in the fight against malnutrition.
He also pledged the creation of budget line to adequately perform the task of awareness creation and social mobilisation.