From: Femi Oyelola, kaduna
Save the Children International (SCI), yesterday commended the Kaduna State Government for releasing N200 million to save the lives of severely malnourished children in 2018.
The SCI a Non-Governmental Organization, which works to improve the nutrition status of children in the state, made the commendation in a letter of appreciation to Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i in Kaduna.
Mr Isah Ibrahim, SCI’s Nutrition Advocacy Adviser in the state, said the intervention had helped to save the lives of over 10,604 Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children in the state in 2018.
According to Ibrahim, responding to the need of malnourished children through procurement of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic food for SAM children was commendable.
“We are happy with the release and cash backing of over N200 million to complement the effort of development partners for various nutrition interventions in 2018.
“We are equally happy with the mobilisation of the chairmen of the 23 local government areas of the state to make financial investment on nutrition programmes.
“This is with a view to save as many children as possibly from dying of malnutrition.
“This is a clear demonstration of the state’s determination to eliminate the menace of malnutrition among children in the state,” the nutrition advocacy adviser said.
Ibrahim said that the National Nutrition and Health Survey 2018 indicated some level of improvement in the state’s nutrition and health indices, following a reduction in child mortality and improved maternal health.
He however, noted that the prevalence of stunting (too short for age) and wasting (too thin for height) among children under-five years in the state was still alarming.
Ibrahim pointed out that malnutrition slowed the growth rate and brain development, which lowers intelligence, thereby making it difficult for children to succeed in life when they become adults.
“Studies have shown that malnourished children, when they become adults, earn less money compared to those who are well-nourished and better-educated as children.
“This development continues the vicious circle of poverty, particularly among less privileged population.
“But adequate nutrition improves children’s mental development, prevent permanent brain damage and result in better performance in school.
“It also gives a chance of living a quality life and contributing to national development,” the official said.
He stressed the need for the state government to scale up community management of acute malnutrition to increase access to treatment centres and save more lives.
Ibrahim also appealed to the state government for full implementation of nutrition-related policies, strategies, plans and timely release of funds to key sectors to carry out preventive measures.