KDSG Committed to Eradicating Malnutrition – Aisha El-Rufai …..Praises UNICEF For 100% Support
By ALEX UANGBAOJE, Kaduna
Wife of the Kaduna State Governor, Aisha Ummi El-Rufai on Thursday reassures of government commitment to totally eradicate malnutrition in the State, even as she commends the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), for one hundred percent provision of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food ( RUTF).
Mrs. El-Rufai gave the assurance in her address at a one-day stakeholders meeting on the scale up of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM), held in Makarfi, Makarfi Local Government Area of the state.
The governor’s wife disclosed that the administration governor El-Rufai has special passion for Health and Nutrition, saying “that is why within the few months of its inception, over N37 Million Naira was released for the procurement of Ready To Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and other medicines for the management of children with Acute Malnutrition at the community level.”
She expressed displeasure over the poor Nutrition indices being revealed by various surveys about the state, adding that “they are not acceptable. Appropriate actions must therefore be taken without delay to drastically reduce the incidences.”
According to her, “as you might be aware from so many surveys conducted, the Nutrition situation of women and children in Kaduna State is Public Health concern as Malnutrition accounts for over 50% of under-five mortality.
“We are all aware that Nutrition issues are multi-sectoral in nature and therefore require multi-sectoral approach in tackling the problems associated with it. This therefore underscores the importance of calling all stakeholders to a meeting of this nature.
“Recent surveys (National Nutrition Health Survey 2015) have shown that 52.1% of children are short for their age (stunted), or chronically malnourished and 41.7% are thin (wasted) or acutely malnourished in Kaduna state. Micronutrients deficiency such as Vitamin A and iodine is also common among these children (27.8%) due to poor intake. Infant Mortality rate is 103%/ 1000 live births and Under 5 Mortality rate is 169 /1000 live births.
“6.2% of our women in Kaduna state are malnourished and 23.4% have deficiency in iron. This has disturbing implications considering the fact that women menstruate monthly and bear children.”
Mrs. El-Rufai expresses satisfaction over UNICEF effort in tackling malnutrition in Kaduna State, adding “I have to show my sincere appreciation for the collaboration of UNICEF with Kaduna State Government in organizing this sensitization meeting on the scaling up of the Community Management Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) to Makarfi LGA.
“The Government is arware of the support given by UNICEF in providing a 1000 percent Ready To Be Use Therapeutic Food and other Logistics in addition to the quantity procured by the State for takeoff of this programme.”
She called on Mothers and Care givers of children to cooperate and avail their children of the noble apportunity by taking them to the designated Health Facilities to bring them out of their Nutritional predicament.
“In the area of inter-sectoral collaboration to address the challenges of malnutrition, I believe after the sensitization meeting today, all the stakeholders would have clear understanding of the role they have to play.
I want to reiterate here that this administration always welcomes any intervention or initiative that would greatly benefit the people of Kaduna state. I wish you a very fruitful delibration!”
On his part, Utpal Moitra, Chief of Field Office, UNICEF Kaduna, called on both the state and LGAs to expand the CMAM sites to all the LGAs in the State in order to reach every malnourished child.
Moitra emphasised the need for stakeholder to join hand in eradication as the problem can not be addressed by government alone.
“Malnutrition can not be addressed by one ministry alone, it cannot be addressed by one development partner, it cannot be addressed by one NGO, it cannot be addressed by one community.
“We need different people, we need different ministries, we need different development partners, we need different NGOs under the supervision of the state and LGAs to implement the issue of malnutrition.”
Makarfi LGA Chairman, Alhaji Shehu Usman in his remarks, applauded UNICEF for its continued support for the State and promised that his LGA will not fail in contributing it’s counterpart fund to complement what UNICEF is doing.