(A special malnourished case where the child also inflicted by fire causing his body to swell proportionally)
As a result of the shocking statistical revelation by United Nations Children Funds (UNICEF) that Kaduna State has 1.3 million malnourished children which is the highest figure in the 36 states and federal Capital Territory, the State government under Governor Nasir El-Rufai said it has raised N750 million emergency funds to reverse the ugly trend.
Though the amount may not be able to adequately take care of the number of malnourished children in the state, but then, many belief it is a right step to ameliorate the suffering of children in this category.
Already, UNICEF has supplied several cartons of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (IYCF) for children under five years to Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) and Out-Patient Therapeutic Programme (OTP) centres located in Zaria and Makarfi local government areas of the state, two out of the 23 lgs imagined to be hosting high number of children in this category.
These two local government areas have five CMAM and OTP centres each making it ten altogether to take care of 1.3 million affected children in the state. IYCF is nutrient dense ready-to-use feed for infant and children suffering from acute malnutrition which should be taking within 8 weeks for effective treatment.
Further investigations by GOBROADSHEET revealed that, the State government has raised the sum of N300 million as counterpart while UNICEF augmented it with N450 million to make the total of N750 million. The money is to be managed by Kaduna State Emergency Action Plan (KADNEP) chaired by the wife of the governor, Hajiya Ummi Elrufai.
Nutrition Officer in the state Ministry of Health and Human ResourcesJane Gwani said, strategies adopted so far were helping to reverse the situation.
She said that the state had collaborated with other relevant stakeholders across communities, public and private sector, civil society, government ministries, department and agencies to effectively contain the situation.
However, Project Director, Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) Beatrice Eluaka has described the investment in nutrition by government at federal, state and local government levels as smart and wise saying, every N100, 000 investment nutrition will save such government N2.5 million in turn.
Eluaka, who stated this during a 3-day capacity building workshop and field visits with 3o selected editors and senior reporters drawn from Niger, Nassarawa, Kaduna and FCT on challenges of health and nutrition in Nigeria to promote effective reportage held in Kaduna recently explained that, any damage between first (1,000 days) that is two years of a child may be irreversible hence the need for all hands to be on deck to address the lapses affecting the future of the country.
“The problem of malnutrition is on the increase and CS-SUNN came to being with the mandate to advocate for improved nutrition. Our vision is to see a Nigeria where every citizen will be empowered to have food and not only to have food but to have their nutrition secured. So we are mobilizing both the state and non state actors to understand their role and be able to do what is necessary in other to improve the nutrition situation in the country.
“When you look at available statistics, you will find out that a large number of children are affected by malnutrition. Available statistics showed that 2,300 children die on a daily basis in Nigeria which malnutrition play key role. That is a large number of talents. What is worrisome is that, the situation can be prevented if only we can put our money where our mouth is because research has told us what the problem is and what needed to be done.
“But we know what the issues are and what we can do to prevent the situation from reoccurring which we have not been doing much. Government has developed policy on food and nutrition. The policy was just revised in 2016″, she added.
BY SOLA OJO, KADUNA, NORTHWEST NIGERIA (24-06-2017)