The Kaduna State Government on Friday says it is considering smart investment in the nutrition sector to address malnutrition in the state.
Mrs Thomas Gyang, the Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission (PBC), disclosed this at the opening of Policy Dialogue on Kaduna State Nutrition Policy, in Kaduna.
The dialogue, organised by PBC with support from Civil Society Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), has the theme, “Emerging Opportunities and Innovative Financing Options for Nutrition Interventions in Kaduna State.”
He noted that nutrition in the state was chronically underfunded, but said the state would reposition nutrition through smart investment to attract resources from the private sector.
Gyang expressed optimism that the use of smart and innovative financing for nutrition would be a viable investment for solving malnutrition and an opportunity to fix certain inefficiency in the market.
“It is also a viable commercial market for nutrition products.
“We need to see more investment for integrated approaches to delivering interventions and seek opportunities to build or leverage innovative financing mechanisms.
“This discussion will help in finding ways to drive results, increase partnerships, prioritise nutrition issues and bring about a robust accountability framework,” he said.
Gyang said that the discussion on the state nutrition policy was critical to addressing the array of complexities and challenges affecting its implementation.
He maintained that the quest to improve food security and nutrition in the state require a well-coordinated multi-sectoral action.
Gyang thanked CS-SUNN, UNICEF, Save the Children, Alive and Thrive (Fhi 360), Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria (ANRiN), UNFPA and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition for their support.
Hajiya Aisha-Ummi El-Rufai, the wife of the state governor, pointed out that malnutrition was the major cause of childhood illnesses, maternal and under five mortality.
She added that malnutrition also deny children the ability to grow mentally to reach their potential and become useful to themselves and the society.
“An estimated two million children in Nigeria suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) but only two out of every 10 children affected were currently reached with treatment.
“In Kaduna State, the National Demographic Health Survey shows that 48.1 per cent, representing 856,272 children under five, were stunted.
“However, with the support of Partners, the State has been able to assess the extent of the problem, map out the hotspots and identify key interventions to ensure that no child or woman dies of malnutrition,” she said.
According to her, the nutrition policy provides the much-needed legal backing to strengthen synergy among sectors and other initiatives of government and partners to achieve the desired results.
Earlier, the PBC Director, Development Aid Coordination, Mr Salisu Lawal, said that the objective of the dialogue was to create awareness on policies and plans that addressed malnutrition and related issues in Kaduna State.
“It was also organised to identify opportunities as well as potential barriers and challenges to the implementation of existing policies and plans for nutrition in the state.
“We hope at the end to provide recommendations and agree on next steps and responsibilities towards improving the nutrition outcomes of women and children in Kaduna State.’’(NAN)