From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai on Thursday sought partnership with the private sector to bridge the state’s nutrition funding gap.
Governor El-Rufai, who spoke through his Health Commissioner, Amina Muhammad Baloni, during the official launch of the Kaduna State Policy on Food and Nutrition and Multi-sectorial Strategic Plan of Action for Food and Nutrition (KDMSPAN), noted that the private sector has the potentials to contribute meaningfully to improve nutrition in the state.
According to him, ‘as a government, malnutrition is an emergency issue that deserves immediate actions. The policy identified the role and the responsibilities of all stakeholders in the implementation of the policy.
‘We will ensure the policy is fully operational and implemented in the state. To this end, we call on all the stakeholders in the state to commit their efforts and resources towards the realisation of this policy.
‘Kaduna State Government will continue to prioritise nutrition programmes and we will make sure to increase the funding to realise the set goals. We will ensure that all the line ministries and agencies as well as the 23 local government areas are able to access the funds that are allocated for nutrition from the budget.
‘The private sector remains a critical stakeholder in this sector, though its potentials in this regard have not been fully tapped into. We should seize this opportunity to invite the private sector to join the nutrition community of practice and partner with the state to close the funding gap,’ he said.
The governor charged the chief executives of the implementing MDA’s to provide an enabling environment for the staff charged with the implementation of the activities of the plan.
Earlier in his presentation, Project Manager, Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), Okoronkwo Sunday, noted that Kaduna needs about N5 billion to address the issue of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) alone where only N100 million out of budgeted N400 million was released in 2020.
KDMSPAN 2020-2024 was developed to improve the nutritional status of all people in Kaduna State particularly children age10 to 23 months, lactating mothers, pregnant women and adolescents through six result areas which include food and nutrition, care-giving capacity, quality health services, insecurity, malnutrition, and resource allocation.
The eight strategic objectives of KDMSPAN include improving food and nutrition security at the State, community, and household levels; to reduce undernutrition among infants and children under five, adolescents, and women of reproductive age; to significantly reduce micronutrient deficiency disorders, especially among the vulnerable groups; to ensure incorporation of nutrition education and promotion into formal and informal training.
Others are to promote optimum nutrition for people especially in difficult circumstances, including people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA); to prevent and control chronic nutrition-related non-communicable diseases; to incorporate food and nutrition considerations into the State and Local Government Areas sectoral development plans, and to strengthen systems for data management and early warning information on the food and nutrition situation.