CS-SUNN, NIGER STATE PLANNING COMMISSION CONVENE POLICY DIALOGUE ON NUTRITION SITUATION IN NIGER STATE:
Niger state over the years has experienced steady growth in its nutrition budgetary allocation and utilization. Budgetary allocations to nutrition moved from 80 million naira in 2017 to over 210 million naira in 2020.
In spite of this, seventy-three children have died as a result of malnutrition in the past six months in the state. These number of deaths were recorded from cases of children who were presented for treatment at Community Based Management of Acute Malnutrition and Severe Acute Management centers in the state. The State Nutrition Officer, Asmau Mohammed revealed this at a high-level advocacy and Policy dialogue on the nutrition situation in Niger State. According to Asmau “28 percent of Children aged 12-59 months received deworming tablet in the last six months, 37 percent of Children aged 6-59 months received Vitamin A capsules in the last six months and only 32.5 percent pregnant women received iron and folic acid supplement during the same period”
Efforts to address the menace of malnutrition in Niger State led to a Policy Dialogue which was organized by CS-SUNN in collaboration with the Niger State Planning Commission (NSPC). The Dialogue brought together Members of the Niger State House of Assembly, the Wife of the Executive Governor of Niger State, Permanent Secretaries and Commissioners of nutrition line Ministries, Development partners and the Media.
The Secretary to the State Government, represented by Musa Shehu, noted that nutrition is cross-cutting across all sectors, adding that the State Multi-sectoral Plan of Action for Nutrition is the responsibility of all sectors. In his words “Every sector is to implement this plan and make a budgetary provision for it. Malnutrition requires a holistic approach and should be scaled down to Local Government Areas and Ward levels”. On his part, the Commissioner, NSPC, Hon. Mamman Musa lauded CS-SUNN for the dialogue session saying the current administration has prioritized nutrition in the state. “The challenges of Malnutrition are real and the consequences very daring. The State MultiSectoral Plan of Action for Nutrition (SMSPAN) is ready for Executive attention. We will take a hard look at the issues and ensure productive engagements to improve nutrition in Niger”, said Musa.
In a keynote address, the Wife of the Executive Governor of Niger State, Dr. Amina Abubakar Bello represented by Pharmacist Hamzat Tijani tasked relevant personnel to distribute the large stock of Ready- to- Use-Therapeutic-Food stored in the Central Medical Store to children affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition.
CS-SUNN Executive secretary, Beatrice Eluaka, noted that children can only attain optimal growth, development and greater heights in adulthood with adequate nutrition and reiterated the need for the state to do more with regards to tackling malnutrition. “We supported Niger state to develop the state’s SMSPAN. The State Committee on Food and Nutrition has to be more functional. Budget lines for Nutrition have to be cash-backed” emphasized Eluaka.
Key asks presented to the Niger state government by CS-SUNN are:
- Approval of State Policy and Strategic Plan on Food and Nutrition
- Improved funding to match the burden of malnutrition in the state
- Prompt release of allocated funds to combat malnutrition
- Mobilization of all stakeholders (government, development partners, private sector, philanthropists) to buy-in to and co-fund the State Strategic Plan which provides a measurable road map to reducing malnutrition in the next five years.