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Malnutrition: Treatment too Cost, Focus Should be on Prevention – Kaduna Commissioner

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Kaduna State Commissioner of Health, Dr. Amina Muhammad, said treating malnutrition consumes huge amount of money and as such, there is need for focus to shift to prevention rather than treatment.

The Commissioner, noted that the amount of money required to treat malnourished children and women in the state is enough to fund development in several sectors, adding that interventions for prevention are low cost which every household can afford.

Dr. Amina, said this when the State Committee on Food and Nutrition, led by the Director, Development Aid Coordination, of Planning and Budget Commission, Salihu Lawal, paid him an advocacy visit on Wednesday.

According to her, “the nutrition specific interventions are only about one third, so the health sector contribution to nutrition is less than all the contributions of other sectors and if you look at the way health interventions are, they are mostly around dealing with problems of nutrition.

“Of cause we have preventive part, Infant and Young Child Feeding Program, Micro Deficiency Program and things like that. But mostly, we get to see problems of nutrition after they have occurred, so it’s more important that we prevent it.

“Budgeting for nutrition is a huge amount of money, we all know it is not a realistic ask, if you look at total budget on health, it is not up to it. So we can’t spend all of it on nutrition, it means that we have to work hard on prevention, awareness creation, making sure that people use what they have to combat this complications.

“The interventions are low cost, it is only when we start having complications we now have to spend a lots of money, so I will in turn advocate back to you that we should be more focused on preventions than on treatment, it is too expensive.

“On treatment, I think we should also look at the use of local foods and the promotion of local foods. We have been focusing on acute malnutrition, we have over 50% of children under 5 of age stunted, that is a more serious problem because you have 2000 day; the first two years to act on children’s brains and if in the first 2000 days the child is deprived of adequate nutrition they grow up to be suboptimal adults, their productivity is reduced, their brain power is reduced, their learning is reduced, so it is important that we focus on the prevention part.”

The Committee, had earlier requested the ministry to prioritize interventions of nutrition and speedily process for funds releases for nutrition activities and also designate a trained nutritionist as nutrition desk officer in the ministry.

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