By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Worried about the countries indices on nutrition and its attendant effect on future generation, Civil Society Scaling up Nutrition in Nigeria (CSSUNN), in partnership with Save the Children International (SCI), Nigeria, converged on the nation’s capital to rob minds on how best to improve nutrition funding in the country.
The aim of the meeting was also for participants to develop a SMART commitments which will arm the country’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, in his presentation at Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo.
Speaking at the meeting, Save the Children’s Advocacy, Campaign and Policy Manager for SURVIVE, Ifedilichukwu Innocent, said the meeting brought all stakeholders together so as to get a commitment that is implementable, unlike the previous ones.
“Today’s meeting is a step in the right direction and this started in 2013 when different countries gathered in the United kingdom to make commitments. These commitments if we get it right and we are able to get federal government, the Vice President in particular to present this commitment, issues around malnutrition will be a thing of the past because we would have adequate and efficient management of resource allocation for nutrition.
” Our hope is that the lives of women and children will improve if we are able to get government to make a commitment that are implementable and actionable. Not the one that will be difficult for even them that are making it to implement like what has happened in the past.
“In 2013 they made a lot of commitments, saying so many things but so many years after, they were not able to implement most of those commitments. We are very mindful this time around. We are making a lot of consultations. We are reaching out to all stakeholders. We have professionals from relevant agencies and ministry of government, from development partners, from the Sun network, the academia, Civil Society organizations, office of the Vice President, United Nations and development partners. We hope to come up with the best recommendations aimed at addressing malnutrition in the country”.
Also speaking, Director/ Senior Technical Adviser to the Minister of Health, Dr. Chris Isokpunwu, lamented poor implementation of previous commitment made by the government.
“At the first 4G summit in London in 3013, 110 stakeholders committed $4billion to tackle undernutrition and $19billion in completing nutrition-sensitive investment to prevent at least 20 million children from being stunted and at least 1.7 million lives by 2020”.
On his part, Senior Health Adviser Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Dr Ahmad Abdulwahab, said nutrition is one of the priorities of the governors, adding that they have a scorcard where they measure progress.
“Nutrition has been a problem because Nigeria currently has the second highest number of stunting and when you look at under five mortality you find out more than 50% of the underlining cause is nutrition. When you look at this scary statistics, you know that nutrition is something that we need to prioritize in this country.
“First, the Nigerian Governor’s Forum is a member of Nigerian Council on Nutrition. When you look at the priorities that the governors have outlined in universal health coverage, nutrition is one of the priorities. Infact the governors have gone ahead of what is happening today because they have already identified the areas of commitment where they need to intensify actions, and they have a score card which they use to monitor those commitments. So I can assure you that the governors are already two to three steps ahead of this gathering.”