By Abubakar Jimoh
There are indications that apart from working to ensure timely release of N150million (out of N300million budgeted) being nutrition counterpart balance to UNICEF for the procurement of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF), Jigawa State Government has been working to cascade CMAM program across the local governments yet to be covered in the state.
The State’s Commissioner for Health, Dr. Abba Z. Umar made this known during an advocacy visit to the Ministry by Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) in Jigawa state.
He urged UNICEF to fast-track the procurement and delivery of RUTF to relevant facilities as 150million had hitherto been released by the State Government.
“The counterpart balance of N150miilion for the procurement of RUTF is being processed as we speak; and will be release once the approval is secured to that effect.
“We are committed to eradicate malnutrition in the state. The state is more willing to scale up the CMAM to cover the remaining local government in the state,” the Commissioner promised.
Speaking during the visit, the Project Coordinator, Chioma Kanu represented by Asst. Program Officer, CISLAC, Murtala Muhammad explained that while Nigeria currently records 2.1 million malnourished children with nearly 1000 Nigerian children dying from malnutrition-related causes every day, Jigawa state currently records over 67,716 malnourished children.
He revealed that UNICEF has set aside $2,915,718 for the treatment of severely malnourished children in Jigawa state while the state government is expected to contribute $567,317 under the existing counterpart agreement.
Muhammad said: “Immediate release of Funds by the Government for nutrition is required to save lives. The CMAM programme still needs to be scaled up. With more resources, government can save more lives, and UNICEF will also contribute more.
“Government needs to also create and dedicate budget line for nutrition as the 2018 budget process kick starts.
“The state needs to also adopt multi-sectoral costed nutrition strategic plan to address the long term nutrition problem in the state. Government needs to ensure nutrition is fully integrated into the Primary Health Care per ward initiative.
“We urge sustained effort to promote Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) and Exclusive Breastfeeding practices in the state. We request that you influence increase funding for nutrition in the state.”