Ahmed Abubakar, Dutse
Reacting to reports of the alarming rate of malnutrition in Katsina and Kano states, members of the two states’ Houses of Assembly were shocked by the number of daily childhood deaths due to severe hunger in their region.
The legislatures, as well as development partners, have met separately in Jigawa to discuss and proffer solutions for a way forward against the ailment that is gradually becoming an epidemic in the society.
Members of the Kano State House of Assembly expressed shock over the reported figure of children inflicted with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the state.
Kano is the most populous state in northwestern Nigeria with a population of over ten million and a lot of its inhabitants said to be living below the poverty line.
The state legislators have vowed to prevail on Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to declare a state of emergency over the issue.
This development came to fore during a one day retreat for members of the Kano State House of Assembly on the prevention and treatment of SAM as a child’s right held in The Three Star hotel, Dutse.
The retreat was organised by International Society for Media in Public Health (ISMPH), Network for Health Equity and Development (NHED), Aisha Buhari Foundation (ABF) and Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC).
In a communiqué issued at the end of the retreat, members resolved to work towards arresting the situation and ensure engagement on budgetary allocation for the treatment of SAM in the state.
The members also assured that its committee on health will engage all agencies in charge of health in the State to, among other measures:
- Establish a Child Nutrition Committee where all issues regarding SAM and healthcare would be discussed to close the identified gaps and commit to ensuring that the problem of SAM is reduced to the barest minimum.
- The reintroduction of a legislative framework to domesticate the National Child Right Act for passage by the Kano State House of Assembly to secure a healthy and productive future of children with adequate nutrition status as a child right.
- Encouraging local production of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic(RUTF) for sustainable procurement, replenishment and dissemination.
- Proactive efforts by the state towards sustainable procurement and dissemination of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to avert reported cases and dreaded impact of stock-out in the state.
- Prioritising immediate curative measure to address Severe Acute Malnutrition, while galvanising preventive measures in the state.