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Malnutrition: Group urges implementation of multi-sectoral plan in 3 states

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The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) on Thursday appealed for 100 per cent allocation of funds to implement Multi-Sectoral Strategic Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition in Kaduna, Nasarawa and Niger States.
The CS-SUNN Project Manager, Mr Sunday Okoronkwo, made the call in Abuja on Thursday at a two-day Health and Nutrition Budget Meeting for officials of nutrition line Ministries Department and Agencies from the states.
The meeting was organised by CS-SUNN, Alive and Thrive (FHI360) and Save the Children International (SCI) to push for improve nutrition funding.
Okoronkwo said that the plan clearly articulated what the states needs to do in the next five years to reduce the burden of malnutrition ravaging children under five years in the states.
“We are appealing to the states to look at the plan to guide them in appropriating sufficient funds for nutrition interventions in their 2020 budget.
“For the sake of women and children bedeviled by malnutrition, the states should ensure 100 per cent release of the funds to improve the nutritional status of women and children.
“They can achieve this by implementing high-impact and low-cost interventions that will drastically reduce the burden of malnutrition,” he said.
He commended the states for improved allocation of funds for nutrition interventions in 2018 and 2019 budgets when compared with the amount allocated in previous years.
He also lauded some of the states for the improvement in budget releases to implement nutrition activities.
The project manager, nonetheless, noted that much needs to be done in budget releases when compared with the burden of malnutrition in the focal states, particularly the number of children dying of malnutrition.
“We need to do more in the 2020 budget because the challenges in the states are life-threatening and we could lose some of these children if money is not released on time,” he added.
Earlier, a Health Economist, Dr Nneka Orji, equally noted that investment on nutrition across the three states has not been adequate to produce the desired result.
Orji stated this in a paper entitled “How Adequate is Nutrition Investment as Against the Burden of Malnutrition in Niger, Nasarawa and Kaduna States”.
According to her, the prevalence of malnutrition in the states has remained very high because of the low investment in the sector.
“Government needs to make adequate budgetary provisions for nutrition intervention to ensure a healthy and productive population for national growth and development.
“Engaging legislators is key in this regard because of their critical role in determining budget approval and implementation.”
Mr Akolo Ataka, the Director Budget, Nasarawa State Ministry of Finance Budget and Planning, disclosed that N1.32 billion was allocated for nutrition in 2018 and N889 million was released.
Ataka added that N1.2 billion was allocated in 2019 and N267.9 per cent million was so far released.
Mrs Aishatu Usman, the Director Budget, Niger State Planning Commission, said that N137.7 million was allocated in 2018 for nutrition out of which N74 million was released.
She added that N109.2 million has so far been released out of the N191.5 million allocated in 2019.
Mr Yusuf Auta, the Deputy Director, Development Aid Coordination, Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission, said that the state allocated N1.7 billion in 2018 out of which N1.3 billion was released.
Auta added that N1.1 billion was allocated in 2019 and N680 million has so far been released. (NAN)
FDY/MST
Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola