An NGO known as “Save the Children International (SCI) on Wednesday in Kaduna inaugurated a Nutrition Advocacy Project from 2018 to 2020 for child survival through the provision of adequate nutrition.
Malam Isa Ibrahim, the SCI Nutrition Advocacy Adviser, said at the inaugural meeting that the project would be implemented at the national level and Kaduna State.
Ibrahim explained that the project would be funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation aimed at mobilising government agencies and stakeholders for additional funding for nutrition projects.
He said the project would ensure that nutrition policies, strategies and plans were adequately implemented.
According to him, the major goal is to make progress toward bringing to an end preventable maternal and child deaths by 2020.
He explained that “Nigeria is home to about six million stunted children, while 50 per cent of mortality of children under five years is due to poor nutrition.
“Kaduna State is vulnerable to disturbing nutrition indices, with three out of 10 under five children severely stunted, while 34 per cent are underweight and 11.7 per cent severely malnourished.”
He said that the project would carry out policy advocacy for budgetary and legislative change.
“We will also mobilise civil society groups, the media and individuals at state and national levels to leverage on the needed change toward improving nutrition behaviour,” he added.
Earlier, the Project Manager, Oluseyi Adejibo, said the NGO’s main focus was to ensure the survival of children, their learning and development.
She said the project would create real, lasting and positive change in the lives of children.
She added that “this is because when mothers are well nourished, they will have healthy newborns; and when children receive proper nutrition, they will develop strong body and mind.
“In the long run, adolescents would learn better, develop intellectually and contribute to the development of their communities and the nation.”
The Kaduna State Commissioner for Planning and Budget Commission, Muhammad Abdullahi, commended the group for the efforts to improve child nutrition
Abdullahi, who was represented by the commission’s Director, Development Aid Coordination, Mrs Pheube Yayi, stressed the need for awareness on behavioural change toward good nutrition.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Nutrition Specialist, Kaduna Field Office, Chinwe Ezeife, urged SCI to go beyond advocacy and include sensitisations to create the needed awareness on good nutrition habit.
The meeting had representation from the state’s ministries of health, agriculture, women affairs, local government affairs, and rural community development.
Others were from civil society scaling up nutrition in Nigeria, Family Health International (fhi360), National Food and Drug Administration Control, and Maternal and New Child Health 2.
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