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Published On: Tue, Jul 21st, 2020

Group says COVID-19 has deepened poverty, worsening malnutrition in Kaduna

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From: Femi Oyelola, Kaduna

The Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has said COVID-19 has deepened poverty situation, and by implication worsening the malnutrition situation in Kaduna State.
The was contained in a Communique issued at the end of a one-day media engagement on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding held in kaduna yesterday.
The Group therefore called on the state government to increase investment in nutrition and facilitate timely releases, cash backing and utilization of allocated nutrition funds for outlined activities at the state and local level.
The Communique signed byMr Silas Ideva Coordinator, CS-SUNN, Kaduna State stressed the need for signing and implementation of the State Multisectoral Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (KDMSPAN) and other nutrition policy documents is fundamental in overcoming malnutrition as well as poverty.
The engagement further observed that in the light of unrelenting commitment of the state in containing the menace of malnutrition, several factors are contributing to the disturbing indices of malnutrition confronting the state.
“The 2018 National Demographic and Health Survey, shows a rate of 48.1%, 4.8%, and 22.1% for Stunting, Wasting and underweight respectively, while 2018 NNHS, is at 27.1%, 5.4%, 22.2% for Stunting, Wasting and Underweight respectively in Kaduna state. Such factors contributing to the negative indices include;
“Inadequate budgetary allocation for sensitive and specific nutrition intervention with Low utilization of available budget lines (slow releases and cash backing of allocates funds);
“ Weak implementation of relevant nutrition policy document e.g though the State Nutrition Policy has been signed, it is yet to be printed and duly disseminated; the Kaduna State Multisectorial Strategic Plan of Action on Food and Nutrition (KDMSPAN), is yet to be signed as at time of this engagement;
“After an intensive discussion and review of the malnutrition situation and ongoing intervention in Kaduna State, participants appreciated the good will, commitment of government and partners in Kaduna State, towards stemming the tide of malnutrition in the state which include among other services:
“ High impact and Low cost intervention on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) interventions have been established in Kaduna State; IYCF is being implemented in 12 LGAs out of 23 LGAs of the state.
“While Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) intervention is ongoing in 15 LGAs, with 77 out-patient therapeutic program (OTP) sites covering 77 wards in the fifteen LGAs. The Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP) has also scaled up 20 more sites in four local government areas of Kagarko, Kudan, Jemma’a and Ikara LGAs of the state.
Integrated service delivery at some PHCs and Secondary facilities for women and children (immunization, ANC and Nutrition) are still being offered with modified client- flow arrangements in the context of COVID-19
“ Established Community structures like the State Committee and the Local Government Committee on Food and Nutrition and partnership with CSOs which has strengthened monitoring of Nutrition Service delivery.”
The Group expressed dismay over low media engagement and reportage based on investigative journalism on issues around malnutrition in the state.
“The media is one of the strategic partners for increasing nutrition salience and creating awareness in the state and at the community level.
“Capacity building activities and trainings should be facilitated for them to enhance their skills on investigative journalism that increases nutrition reportage.”

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