Governance, Institutional Weaknesses, Others Major Challenge of Nutrition in Nigeria – UNICEF

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), says the multifaceted challenges being faced by nutrition in Nigeria are grossly caused by governance and institutional weaknesses, food insecurity.

Others are; inadequate care and access to health services and the suboptimal maternal infant and young child feeding (MIYCF) practices.

Mrs. Chinwe Ezeife, Nutrition Specialist, UNICEF Kaduna Field Office, stated this on Thursday in Kaduna during a Media Engagement on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF), under the SUN Movement Pooled Fund Window 2, organized by the Civil Society Scaling-up Nutrition in Nigeria CS-SUNN, Kaduna Chapter.

Ezeife, who also represented UNICEF Kaduna Chief Field Officer, Adam Zakari, made her presentation virtually through Zoom Conferencing.

She said In spite of the available enabling policy environment in which maternal nutrition & IYCF have been prioritized in the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition (NSPAN), Nigeria is still experiencing low progress in implementing large-scale Maternal Infant and Young Child Nutrition programmes.

On Kaduna, She said despite the significant improvement recorded in the last five years, the state remains among the list of the 14 out of the 36 states with disturbing nutrition indices.

“Based on NDHS 2018 stunting rates 27.1%, Wasting 5.7% and Underweight 22.2% there are a lot of factors to be considered in planning and programming of nutrition interventions in Kaduna Sate.

“The scourge of malnutrition which manifests as Undernutrition, Overnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies is more severe among the most vulnerable groups of infants, children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women.

“Except for a number of routine actions, there is limited coverage of most nutrition actions for key target groups with a number of high-impact nutrition actions not implemented in some LGAs
Majority of the wards across the entire state are not reached with these services.” She added.

Eziefe, therefore noted that adequate food intake and healthy nutritional practices remains the foundation blocks for a healthy and productive nation.

Presenting the overview of “The Pooled Fund”, Silas Ideva, Coordinator, Kaduna State Chapter of CS-SUNN, said it’s a source of funding of catalytic and innovative projects to support Multi-Sector/Stakeholder Platforms in SUN Countries to increase the effectiveness and impact of national efforts to end malnutrition in all its forms.

“Pooled Fund grants will promote engagement of additional relevant actors in the implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder national plans for nutrition, at national and sub-national level.

“The objective of Window II of the Pooled Fund is to strengthen linkages and joint collaboration within the Multi-sector/Stakeholder Platform at both the national and sub-national level.

“It hopes to improve the delivery of multi-sectoral nutrition activities that impact nutrition outcomes for nutritionally vulnerable groups including: women, girls and adolescents, and communities at the local level.

“The project proposal built on the results of the latest Joint Annual Assessments (JAA), and addresses the priority areas, needs and activities identified.” She explains.

Silas, further added that the mandate is to improve Maternal and Child Health Nutrition through multisectoral nutrition interventions, promote Ownership and Capacity Strengthening of Multi-Sector/Stakeholder Platform at decentralized level.

In Her goodwill message, State Team Lead, Alive and Thrive, Sarah Kwasu, commended CS-SUNN, for organizing the media engagement, which she said will be helpful in disseminating nutrition messages in the state.

According to her, bringing the media into a project from the time of planning, will enable them have deep information and knowledge that will help them better communicate the project to the public.

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