You are currently viewing Strengthening Governance for Nutrition in Niger State!  CS-SUNN advocacies yield Promising Commitments from Stakeholders.

Strengthening Governance for Nutrition in Niger State!  CS-SUNN advocacies yield Promising Commitments from Stakeholders.

“It was the influence of CS-SUNN that has made us become more aware and passionate about nutrition interventions in Niger state. It was the experience we had during CS-SUNN Pre-budget meeting in Abuja and Legislative retreat in Akwa Ibom that made us rename the committee to also capture nutrition. Other partners may not be as accountable but we have a very strong trust in CS-SUNN. The bill for extension of paid maternity leave was raised by myself but I had to hand it over to the female colleague to present in the house. The bill is under scrutiny and will be passed to law by the Grace of God. The committee is working with the Head of Service and Establishment on that,” said Chairman, Niger State House Committee on Health and Nutrition, Pharm Nasiru Umar Paiko during CS-SUNN’s advocacy visits to key nutrition Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Niger state.

Group photograph with the Niger State House Committee on Health and Nutrition

Malnutrition in Nigeria remains a significant challenge, stemming from various factors such as food insecurity, poor feeding practices, and inadequate government prioritization of nutrition interventions. Despite the critical need for action, nutrition financing in Nigeria has been insufficient, as evidenced by low budget allocations to the sector.

In response to this pressing issue, the former President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Mohammed Buhari, approved the establishment of Nutrition Departments within Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) at both federal and state levels. This executive order aimed to bolster nutrition financing and coordination efforts, with initial implementation efforts underway in Zamfara, Plateau, and Cross River states.

In pursuit of replicating these efforts for improved nutrition governance across Nigeria, CS-SUNN undertook an advocacy visit to several key Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) within Niger State. The objectives were to advocate for the establishment of dedicated nutrition departments within pertinent MDAs, and secondly, to advocate for the extension of paid maternity leave to six months, critical to advancing maternal and child nutrition efforts during the first 1000 days of life.

Led by esteemed figures including Mrs. Ramatu Umar, Permanent Secretary of the Niger State Planning Commission, Dr. Mrs. Esther Mangzha from CS-SUNN’s Board of Trustees, and Dr. Goodness Chidi Anyanwu, Programme Manager of CS-SUNN, a dedicated advocacy team comprising various stakeholders embarked on a week-long series of advocacy visits in Niger State. The team engaged key decision-makers, including commissioners, permanent secretaries, and legislators, to garner support for the aforementioned objectives.

At the end of advocacy visit to the office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Primary Health Care, Niger State.

In the words of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Primary Health Care, Dr. Abdullahi Imam  “Because ours is a new ministry, it is a low hanging fruit. We already have a department of food and drugs. So, it is either a matter of renaming or creating a different department for nutrition entirely. The ministry is going to make effort to ensure the asks are implemented not just in our ministry but in the state and if needed, we will also engage the PS Ministry of Establishment”.

Dr. Joseph Kolo James, the Permanent Secretary, Office of Niger State Head of Service re-affirmed the state’s commitment saying “The office of the head of service requests MDAs to submit memos justifying the need for nutrition departments. The Ministry of Gender will lead efforts on extending maternity leave.”