The Speaker of the Gombe State House of Assembly (GSHA), Abubakar Sadiq Kurba, has lamented the increasing number children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in the State, pledging that the State legislature would collaborate with the executive and support moves aimed at improving the health sector.
The Speaker also announced that plans are underway to scale-up the Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) services to the whole of the State.
The lawmaker stated this during an on-the-spot assessment visit to the CMAM centre at the Primary Health Care Center (PHCC) in Pantami quarters of Gombe Local Government Area. He revealed that the legislators’ resolution was due to the rising cases of SAM children which is now a lingering menace in the State.
Until the pronouncement by the Speaker, CMAM service only existed in 6 of the State’s 11 Local Government Areas. According to the Speaker, SAM has over the years continued to ravage the State and that the menace is more severe in LGAs not covered by the CMAM service.
He, however, assured that the House is working in collaboration with the State’s Food and Nutrition Committee toward improving funding for nutrition in thes health budget. He explained that what he and other legislators observed during the assessment visit to CMAM site in PHCC Pantami is a stark reality on the situation of malnutrition, which has made it necessary for actors to stand against SAM in the State.
‘The Governor has made the health sector his priority and as such has taken good time and resources to invest in the health sector by providing the Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for distribution to the children; and we have heard from the confessions of the parents that we have improved the health of their children. However, we are going to make sure that the government does more for these children who are our future leaders,’ he stated.
Aishatu Umar, a registered nurse-midwife, who is the facility manager of the SMAM site in PHCC Pantami, told the lawmakers and other visitors that there is the need for parents to be encouraged to embrace complementary feeding and exclusive breastfeeding.
‘So that as the children are transiting from RUTF to the locally available food there will be an impact,’ Aishatu said while the Commissioner of Health gave the assurance that the government will leave no stone unturned when it comes to addressing health issues in the State.
Represented by Nasir Bappayo, the Commissioner, Dr Ahmed Muhammad Gana, advocated for the timely release of health budgetary allocations for effective results.
‘We are appealing to the House of Assembly to add more funds to cover for the entire thematic areas, which is major challenge health is facing,’ Dr Gana stated.