Nutrition Stakeholders in Kaduna state have tasked the state government to expedite action on recruitment and deployment of trained nutritionist to Primary Health Care centres in 255 wards, in line with the Nutrition Minimum Service package, and the Primary Health Care Under One Roof (PHCUOR) requirement for manpower.
The recommendation is contained in a communique signed by a 5-man committee headed by Hon. Ahmed Mohammed Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Appropriation and Budget of the Kaduna State House of Assembly. The communique was developed at the end of a two days review meeting on allocation, releases and utilization of nutrition budget with key stakeholders from the legislature and nutrition line ministries in Kaduna state.
The meeting was organized by the Kaduna State Planning and Budget Commission with the support of Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Save the Children international and other nutrition Partners. It was aimed at getting stakeholders to ascertain the level of nutrition investment and budget performance in Kaduna state. It also sought to secure commitments for increase in domestic investments for high-impact, low-cost interventions as captured in the state specific plans of actions in the 2020 annual budget and to develop key advocacy asks for 2021.
Participants were drawn from nutrition line ministries, the State house of Assembly, members of the state’s food and nutrition committee, CS-SUNN, Alive and Thrive, Save the Children International, UNICEF, Nutrition Society of Nigeria (NSN) and the Media.
The meeting observed that:
- Kaduna State had recorded an impressive budget performance in the health sector in 2019, with 96% budget performance compared to the 30% recorded in 2018.
- The National Demographic Health Survey 2018 had placed Kaduna State in the 9th position among states with high burden of stunted children at 48.1%, higher than the national rate of 37%.
- There is the problem of cultural and religious misconceptions around early initiation of breastfeeding, exclusive breastfeeding, and minimum dietary diversification.
- There is low cash backing of allocated nutrition funds at the State and LGAs, coupled with the absence of nutrition budget lines in relevant MDAs
- There are inadequate Nutritionists at the PHC and LGA levels with only 3 currently working (one each in Igabi, Kagarko and Zaria LGAs)
- Currently, Nutrition budget line in the 2020 budget is domiciled at Ministry of Health for relevant MDAs to access through KADENAP. This creates multiple processes that could slow down timely access to allocated funds
- The disruption of nutrition and related programme implementation due to lock down of the state as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of measures to address the aforementioned challenges, the meeting recommended that:
- Kaduna House of Assembly ensure adequate budgetary allocation for nutrition intervention and facilitate timely release and cash backing of allocated funds through oversight function.
- Strengthening of advocacy by Civil Society Organizations for nutrition fund releases and cash backing on quarterly basis.
- Improved data collection, collation, and documentation to strengthen the Nutrition Management Information System, for informed management decision at State Executive Council meetings.