The Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) has called on the Kaduna State Government to increase investment in nutrition, describing it as “key” to sustainable development.
CS-SUNN made the call in a communique issued in Kaduna on Monday at the end of its media engagement on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (MIYCF).
The coalition noted in the communique, signed by the Coordinator of the society in the state, Mr Silas Ideva, that adequate nutrition practices were the “foundation blocks” for a healthy and productive nation.
The group lauded the ongoing implementation of high-impact and low-cost intervention on MIYCF in 12 local government areas of the state.
CS-SUNN noted that Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) was being implemented in 15 local government areas, with 77 out-patient therapeutic programme sites, covering 77 wards in the 15 council areas.
It commended the implementation of the State Strategy for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition (2019-2023) to encourage maternal nutrition, exclusive breastfeeding, and adequate complementary feeding among children under five years.
It, however, noted that “the Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) of 2018 indicates a stunting rate of 48.1 per cent among children under five years, while wasting stands at 4.8 per cent and underweight 22.1 per cent.
“These disturbing indices were further compounded by the outbreak of COVID-19, which deepened poverty among poor households and disrupted access to nutrition and health services.
“It is crucial to note that poor nutrition impedes cognitive and physical development, with underlying impact on socio-economic development.
“Therefore, to address the situation, the state and local government areas should increase investment in nutrition and ensure timely release, cash backing and utilisation of allocated funds.”
CS-SUNN also urged the Kaduna State Government to sign and implement its Multisectoral Strategic Plan of Action on Nutrition (KDMSPAN) and other nutrition policy documents that were fundamental in overcoming malnutrition.
The coalition also called on the government to strengthen the Local Government Committee on Food and Nutrition, in line with the state’s policy on food and nutrition.
“We also want the state to scale-up high impact nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions, especially in high burdened and hard-to-reach communities,” CS-SUNN added.
It pledged to continue evidence-based advocacy for increased investment in the nutrition sector and stressed the need to enhance journalists’ skills on reporting issues around nutrition.