Nutrition: KADSEMA to create a budget line in the 2023 budget proposal
From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
As a step to enhance nutrition finances and at the same time take care of the nutrition needs of the displaced children in the state, the Kaduna State Emergency Management Agency (KADSEMA) has directed the agency’s budget team to create a budget line in the agency’s 2023 budget proposal.
Executive Secretary (ES), KADSEMA, Muhammed Mu’Azu Mukaddas gave the directive when he played host to the nutrition advocacy team led by Director of Development Aid Coordination (DDAC), Planning and Budget Commission, Kaduna State, Mrs. Linda Yakubu in his office on Monday.
State Nutrition Officer, Mrs. Ramatu Musa had told the ES that though the cases of acute malnutrition among under-five children are dropping due to efforts of the state government, the funding gap has remained the top challenge in adequately addressing issues of stunting and wasting in the affected malnourished children in the state.
According to her, “SEMA is one of the nutrition-sensitive agencies which is why we are here as a team to let you know the nutrition situation in the state and seek your support to ensure you deal with preventive causes of malnutrition of the children, especially those at the internally displaced persons (IDP) camps.
“So we want your office to create a budget line for nutrition activities as the first respondent to emergencies so that we can collectively address this issue in the state across the board including the IDP camps”, she said.
Intimating the ES on the benefit the state stands to gain if the effective investment is made in nutrition, the State Coordinator, Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Ms. Jessica Batholomew noted for example that a dollar spent on a child will yield a minimum of 16 dollars later in life.
“It is said that if you invest a dollar on a child, it will bring 16 dollars return. In our context, if you invest N500 in a child, you will get N8000 return profit. This is why all the necessary investments must be made within the first 1,000 days in life when the child will develop all her cognitive reasoning as she grows.
“We know funding has always been an issue, but, if we can prioritize nutrition funding, it can be done. This will help us in good investment return because when we have a society who are highly intellectual, they can think creatively, and invest wisely, and then, there will be more revenue to the government. So, we want all the stakeholders to make the issue of nutrition a top preference”, she said.
In his response, the ES who has worked with UNICEF for about 17 years before his latest appointment a few months ago said, “I’m familiar with most of the issues around nutrition as we have discussed. I’m glad we have a policy on nutrition in place. We also have a multi-sectoral plan of action.
“I agreed that funding nutrition has been a problem. SEMA in my care is willing to work with you. We will include a budget line in the 2023 budget. You have our buy-in.
“It has been in my plan to conduct a joint assessment of IDP camps in Kaduna state so that beyond the one SEMA has conducted, we can all have our eyes on malnourished children as stakeholders. As soon as we are ready, we will bring some of you together to assess the 23 local governments.
“Already, We are doing a lot in providing food as relief items to displaced people which is a part of nutrition intervention. I’m happy that we are preparing our 2023 budget and the officer in charge is here and I’m directing him now to create a nutrition budget line in the next year’s budget”, he said.