Nutrition stakeholders in Kaduna State have strongly appealed to Nigerian media practitioners to champion the course of maternal and infant nutrition issues in order to reduce stunted and acute malnourished population.
The stakeholders who include Alive and Thrive (A&T) NAFDAC, Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), UNICEF, World Bank Accelerating Nutrition Results in Nigeria (ANRiN) project and Kaduna State Primary Health Care Board (SPHCB) at a Media roundtable with media practitioners in Kaduna harped on the need for aggressive promotion of salient issue on Maternal Infant Young Child Nutrition, (MIYCN) in the state.
To these partners, Kaduna as an agrarian state is not supposed to have high cases of stunting and acute malnutrition because the needed nutrients, vitamins and proteins for healthy growth can be sourced locally, hence the need for media to educate households on the importance of healthy eating.
Already, the state government with support from partners especially UNICEF recently spent about N1.1 Billion on treatment and management of acute malnutrition which is not sustainable.
For example, the State’ Nutrition Officer, Mrs. Ramatu Haruna said recently that the state treated a total of 17,063 malnourished children out of the 28,524 admitted in various Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) centres across the state in 2021.
Zonal Coordinator of A&T, Sarah Kwasu, said, “we need to talk more on preventive measures rather than curative measure which is not sustainable”.
Sarah hinted the meeting that her organization was scaling up MIYCN in Kaduna, Bauchi, Kano, Sokoto, Borno, Yobe and Lagos states from 2021 to 2026.
To ensure success within the period, Sarah further said that A&T has been working with state governments, strengthening local capacities as well as supporting efforts for improvement at national level.
She explained that recognising the importance of maternal nutrition for better health and wellbeing outcomes for both mothers and their children, her organisation aimed at improving the delivery of maternal nutrition interventions in the focal states.
Desk Officer, NAFDAC, Kaduna office, Rahila Maishan, lamented low practice of exclusive breastfeeding quickly added that NAFDAC did not permit adverts of infant formulas or breast milk substitutes (BMS) in the country.
Maishanu in a paper titled: “The BMS Code/National Regulation and the Role of Media in Promoting Code Compliance” described breastfeeding as an high impact, low technology, cost effective intervention for child survival and optimal cognitive sustainability.
“In order to promote MIYCN, the Agency empowered by law under the provisions of the NAFDAC Act Cap N1 LFN 2004 birthed a Code to contribute to the provision of safe and adequate nutrition for infants, by the protection and promotion of breastfeeding, to ensure proper use of breast milk substitutes on the basis of adequate information through appropriate marketing and distribution.
On his part, Assistant State Nutrition Officer, SPHCB, Adams Ango, remarked the need to assist the State Government in promoting MIYCN in the state adding that the state has fared well on the issue of malnutrition.