Acute Malnutrition: UNICEF, Kaduna Govt. Procures N750m Worth of Therapeutic Food, Treats 4,233 Children

By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna

The Kaduna State Government with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has procured N750 million worth of Ready To Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to treat Severe Acute Malnourished (SAM) children in the state.

Malam Dauda Anchau, Quality Assurance Officer, Kaduna Emergency Nutrition Action Plan (KADENAP), made this known in Kaduna, during a Mid-Year Review meeting on various interventions being implemented to better the lives of women and children in the state, organized by UNICEF and The state Ministry of Budget and Planning.

Anchau said that a total of 4,232 children were admitted in 23 SAM management health facilities and Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) sites in the state between January and May 2017.

He added that so far 2,672 have been cured, representing 83.2 per cent of the admitted cases.

He also said that CMAM sites have been scaled up from two to three local government areas of the state, thus increasing access to CMAM services to 31,346 children in the state.

He also reminded participants of the N130 million allocation for the support of CMAM and IYCF in the 2017 budget.

Anchau commended UNICEF for the strong advocacy to the state government that led to the establishment of KADENAP, launched in January 2017 to implement immediate nutrition interventions in the state.

On micro nutrients deficiency prevention through improve supplement intervention, he said that UNICEF has supplied the state government with 1,557,700 vitamin A capsules and eight million tablets of iron folate.

He said that the effort was to provide nutrient intervention during Maternal Neonatal and Children Health Week, to increase coverage for vitamin A from 85 per cent in December 2016 to 90 per cent in July 2017.

“The state government has approve N10 million for the exercise which would commence July 15.

“Capacity of service providers has been built and the vitamin A and the iron folate have been supplied to all wards in the state, “he said.

He expressed optimism that by 2018, proportion of zero to three months old children optimally fed will increase to 50 per cent.

“This is because, there are. 349 functional support groups in Kajuru and 45 in Zaria local government areas that counselled 8, 642 pregnant and lactating mothers on Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF).

“Similarly, 14,280 care givers were reached with IYCF messages through support groups, ” he added.

The officer said that scaling up of CMAM sites from three to seven would be among key priority areas in 2018 to reach over 200,000 SAM children in the state.

He however, identify insecurity – communal clash, cattle rustling and kidnaping in some local government areas as major challenge, resulting to increase in households food insecurity and malnutrition.

He also said that dwindling purchasing power of households results in increase cases of malnutrition among children.

“Also, persistent adherence to cultural nums and practices has continued to antagonise optimal IYCF in the state, “he said.

Earlier, Mr Nawshad Ahmed, Programme and Planning Specialist, UNICEF Abuja, described the review meeting as very strategic in identifying achievements in the first six months and any adjustment that may be required for the remaining six months.

On his part, the Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Muhammad Abdullahi thanked UNICEF for all the supports in protecting and improving the lives of women and children in the state.

He added that the state was open for more partnership yo improve the lives of the people.

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