Kaduna Government Proposes 1Bn Naira To Tackle Malnutrition

The Kaduna State government has said it is proposing an annual budget of 1 Billion Naira, to tackle malnutrition, among children in the state.

Governor Nasir El-Rufai disclosed this at a summit on emergency nutrition action plan held in the state capital.

The governor announced that as part of efforts to address hunger and starvation in the state, his administration will set aside funds to take care of 50,000 malnourished children in collaboration with UNICEF.

He however called on the citizens to invest at least 6,000 to 8,000 Naira to save a malnourished child

“If a child is not given the right nutrition within the first 1,000 days he or she is most likely to be incapable to think well.

“A malnourished child may not finish primary school. Investing in the life of malnourished children is to save us from insurgency” the governor said.

Speaking at the event, wife of the governor and initiator of the summit , Aisha El-Rufai, lamented that, despite Kaduna been ranked as first in the production of maize, soya, tomato and ginger, the state was still faced with the challenge of using the best natural and human resources to feed people in the most proper and acceptable manner.

She also expressed concern on the helpless women and children who were affected by malnutrition.

“Because they do not have a choice in this affliction, malnutrition strives more in impoverished homes due to inadequate supply of the balanced diet or inappropriate form of cooking, methods leading to the destruction of the nutrients plus lack of knowledge

“The past pictures of malnourished women and children were seen in distant countries but now the menace is either directly or indirectly within people of the state”.

The National Nutrition Health Survey, (NNHS) of 2015 confirms that 42% of children in Kaduna State are termed wasted from acute, under nutrition while a further 52.1% of children under 5 years old are termed stunted from chronic under nutrition”

Mrs El-Rufai said: “The nutrition indices leads to more than 50% of under-five mortality in Kaduna State.

“This poor nutrition situation cuts across all the 23 local government areas of the state.

“As a mother my heart bled when I went round and saw the situation of women, expecting mothers and children in communities of this state, especially in health care centers and other outpatient therapeutic program sites.

“It totally depressed me and gave me sleepless nights but it also triggered me into action with the purpose of saving lives and giving the women and children of this state,  hope and a reason to live a meaningful and productive life”, she said.


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Actor, Djimon Honsou, visits Maiduguri to bring attention to malnutrition crisis


“I’m a son of the continent [so] it’s my inherent obligation to care for my own people,” he said. “I also came upon an amazing quote which said: ‘We should all be ashamed to die unless we have made some major contribution to human society.’ I’m looking to make a social impact here.”


Oxfam, who have been assisting the region since 2014, have observed the evolution of the situation in the Northeast. Although there has been progress made, things remain “fluid”. The army has reclaimed territory from Boko Haram but there are still areas under the group’s control, resulting in an unknown number of people who are trapped.


“We don’t know how many there are, we don’t know how hungry they are, we don’t know anything about their situation,” said Kathryn Achilles, Humanitarian Campaign Manager at Oxfam. “The security situation also remains very fluid and quite unpredictable,” Achilles continued. “So even in Maiduguri now we are seeing attempted or actual suicide attacks, a lot of the time horrifically carried out by young children.”


“We need to be mindful of the fact that just because people have fled from Boko Haram, it doesn’t mean they’re safe.”


As for the staggeringly high estimates of those in need, Achilles said that she suspects the true number of those in need is “slightly higher.”


“In any humanitarian crisis you never really have precise numbers,” she said. “It’s a very difficult process especially when you’re working in a place like north-east Nigeria where we don’t have access to everyone that might need our support.”


“Debates about whether numbers are true or not can risk delaying our response, and the slower we are to respond the more people can get sick or people die,” she continued.


Raising awareness and galvanising the international community are key in mounting an adequate response to the crisis according to Achilles. “This is one of the biggest crises in Africa and yet you talk to people in Nigeria and the rest of the world and it’s barely known,” she said. “It’s barely a blip on the international agenda.”


While the government continues to make progress made she said there’s more that can be done. “We need the government to be doing much more in terms of strengthening humanitarian coordination, to really work with us to identify where there are gaps and meet those needs,” she said.


The most pressing need however is food. The UN estimates more than 4.4 million people are in urgent need of food assistance. They predict 400,000 children in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe will suffer severe acute malnutrition over the next year if urgent measures aren’t taken.


“We need to get enough food into north-east Nigeria to meet the needs,” she said. These people are going to need food assistance of some sort for probably the next year.


Government intervention and NGO action aside, ordinary Nigerians also have a pivotal role to play. “It’s very important for the Nigerian people to remember that this is happening to Nigerians,” she said. “Ordinary Nigerians [need to] reach out to the government and demand of them the type of response they’d want if it was happening to them, to their families, their communities, what would they want the government to do?”

Senate Demands N95bn To Treat 19m Kids Of Malnutrition

Senate said Monday it would appropriate N95 billion in 2017 nutrition funding for some 1.9 million children aged under five suffering from malnutrition.

It is the biggest appropriation promised for nutrition so far, after it appropriated a paltry N2.4 million in budget for federal health ministry in 2016, which wasn’t released.

Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Senator Olanrewaju Tejuoso admitted malnutrition budget in 2016 “wasn’t properly budgeted.”

“Only N2.4 million in FMOH budget, less than some states budgeted,” told a press briefing before the senate committee started a policy dialogue on nutrition in Abuja.

“If we are going to take care of children confirmed for malnutrition, we need to make sure they are budgeted for.”

Senator Matthew Urhoghide, vice chairman of Senate health committee and also on the appropriations committee, defended his committee’s passing just over N2m for nutrition.

He said the amount was “proposed by the ministry, and that was what was passed.”

Speaking about its current calculation of N95b for nutrition in 2017 budget, he said, “We are saying this is what must go to the budget office before it comes to us.”

He said it wanted the health ministry to budget that amount of funding for nutrition before submitting its budget to avoid any alternation to the budding raising concern about “budget padding.”

Out of an estimated 2.5 million children considered wasted – too thin for their age — and in need of malnutrition treatment, the expected funding can only provide for 1.9 million at an estimated N50,000 child.

The United Nations Children’s Fund has pledged to fund treatment for an extra 600,000 children to be treated for severe acute malnutrition. Another 11m children are considered stunted, or too short for their age.

“The actual footprint of the burden of malnutrition is far greater than what you see in terms of [severe acute malnutrition],” said Shawn Baker, director of nutrition and global development at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

“What’s terribly encouraging is there’s a recognition that nutrition has not been under-prioritised.”

Working with Borno state, UNICEF expanded treatment to reach 15,000 children, up from 6,000 between June and September, said Arjan de Wagt, UNICEF nutrition chief.

“What’s stopping us from scaling up?” said de Wagt. “When the resources are there, it is very easy to scale up to a million children. That’s not rocket science.”

Credit: dailytrust

AfDB approves $1m to reduce malnutrition in Borno.

The African Development Bank Board has approved $1 million to support the fight against malnutrition in Borno State.

The bank announced this in a statement by the Senior Communications Officer, Nigeria Country Office, Fatimah Alkali, in Abuja.

It said that the grant was approved by the executive directors of the bank as emergency assistance to support the fight against malnutrition in the state.

The statement said AfDB’s intervention would strengthen the ongoing effort by the government and partners such as UNICEF, WFP and OCHA to support the northeastern region of the country.

Alkali said: “The Bank will focus on Borno State where the situation is dire, to rationalise funds and be more efficient.

“This will contribute to reducing malnutrition rate among the most vulnerable population mainly children under five years and women of childbearing age.

“If these children are left untreated, it is envisaged that an estimated 59,320 would die.

“This intervention will augment efforts at attaining the target to reach 80 per cent of the estimated SAM cases in the region by 2017.

“Nigeria is currently in economic recession which has stretched the government’s capacity to address vulnerability; over 2.5 million children under five years are severely malnourished across the country and are nine times more likely to die than their counterparts.”

The intervention is aligned with one of the operational priorities of the bank’s 10-year strategy from 2013 to 2022.

The operational priorities of the bank are governance and accountability, which are reiterated in two of the High-5s: Feed Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

In June, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, declared a nutrition emergency in Borno State.

The West and Central Africa Regional Food Security and Nutrition Working Group had called on the international community to respond to prevent the situation from deteriorating.

Breast Feeding Week: Malnutrition Behind Half Of All Child Deaths

Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) says malnutrition is  responsible for one in every two death of children aged less than five years in Nigeria.

Sunday Okonkwo,  programme manager for CS-SUNN, made the observation at the commemoration of this year’s World Breastfeeding Week in Abuja tagged “Breastfeeding, A key to sustainable development”.

He said the key message of the breast feeding week is to “raise awareness on issues that affect children.

CS-SUNN leads advocacy for a coalition, Partnership for Advocacy Child and Family Health (PACFaH) which pushes for better nutrition for children .

“If you look at the issue of malnutrition you will find out that Malnutrition is responsible for every 1 in 2 under five year child death in Nigeria,” said Okoronkwo.

The National Demographic and Health Survey shows 37 per cent of children under age five are too short for their age, 29 per cent underweight and 18 per cent too thin for their age or wasted.

But the National Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (NSPAN) 2014-2019, which  provides a comprehensive and multi-sector approach to tackling the problem of malnutrition, is yet to be implemented.

“The NSPAN is a key document to scale up of nutrition in Nigeria, if implemented.  We appeal to the governments to provide budgetary allocation for its implementation in the 2017 budget, with emphasis on child and adolescent nutrition and timely release of funds,” said Okoronkwo.

He added that if the NSPAN is fully implemented it  will reduce up to about 20 percent malnutrition death by 2019.

UNICEF Nigeria, Nutrition Advocacy Specialist, Zakaria Fusheini, said, “As a country we have policies, so we need to ensure that these policies  are implemented to the letter and also to ensure that within the first 1000 days of life for children which start from conception  up to 2 years, children have all the nutrients that they need to grow optimally.”

The push is exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and complementary feeding from six months onward.

Zakaria added that there is a need to reach out to mothers who are in the rural areas who don’t have access to such information.

Credit: dailytrust


Malnutrition: Nigeria To Lose 300,000 Children In 2016 – UNICEF

It is feared that Nigeria stands to loose a total number of 300,000 children within the ages of 0-5 years to acute malnutrition in 2016 if drastic measures are not swiftly put in place to tackle the menace.

Zakari Fusheni, a nutrition specialist in UNICEF Abuja office, on Wednesday disclosed this at a retreat on malnutrition with the theme: “Malnutrition: the major cause of under five-5 mobility and mortality in Kaduna state: call for action” which was organized by the Kaduna state ministry of local government, health and human services, in collaboration with UNICEF Kaduna field office, also disclosed that over 1.6 million Nigerian children are malnourished.

He said policies need to be put in place to prevent children from dying as malnutrition is beyond poverty and educational status, with more emphasis on the enlightenment of mothers.

“Over 1.6 million Nigerian children are suffering from acute malnutrition and this means that the children are nine times likely to die than normal children and if nothing is done about it, we will likely loose 300,000 of these children.”

“So what it means also is that we need to get the interventions right, and we need to treat them because they need attention. UNICEF has been working with the government in providing ready to use therapeutic foods and this is very important for the children so that they can be treated of severe malnutrition.”

“Nigeria is trying but still has a long way to go because we still have a standing rate ?of about 30% -47% in acute malnutrition which is still quite high compared to other countries. This calls for more efforts.

“If you look at breast feeding which is important for the survival of the child in the first six months, we still have it at low rate especially in the north. Most of the states have less than 10% in breast feeding rate and it’s not good for the children because it is their first food.”

“Nigeria knows what the problems and solutions are; we just need to come together because nutrition goes beyond poverty and even beyond educational status. In rich homes, there are still presentations of malnutrition. It also has to do with how it is been tackled, using the multi- sectoral approach.”

Credit: Leadership