The number of severely malnourished children in Kaduna State is on the increase.
Those admitted for special care at Community Management of Acute Malnutrition, CMAM, sites increased from 2,796 in the first quarter of 2021 to 8,157 in the second quarter of the year.
Three children died of the disease in the first quarter, while 28 died in the second quarter.
The number of children treated also increased from 2,730 in the first quarter to 4,631 in the second quarter of 2021 because of increased availability of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food RUTF at CMAM centres.
Umar Bambale, Project Manager, Kaduna State Emergency Nutrition Action Plan, KADENAP, said on Tuesday in Kaduna that the state government has approved the release of N500 million for the procurement of RUTF.
He said at a one-day Nutrition Partners’ Second Quarter Coordination and Review Meeting that the money was in the second quarter of the year and that KADENAP was awaiting the release of the funds to finalise the procurement process.
He added that the government also released N134 million in the second quarter of the year to KADENAP for the implementation of nutrition programs.
The manager explained that the RUTF was an energy-dense, mineral- and vitamin-enriched food, specifically designed to treat severely malnourished children.
According to him, the state government was making necessary efforts to sensitise mothers and caregivers to good nutrition practices.
“So far, 40,584 mothers and caregivers were reached with nutrition messages in the first quarter, while 26,990 were reached in the second quarter of the year,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Salisu Baba, Director, Development Aid Coordination, Planning and Budget Commission, said the state government was working with development partners to optimise utilisation of resources.
He said the measure would help to eliminate duplication of efforts and spread intervention on nutrition across the state for maximum result.
“The meeting is also to receive updates and reports on nutrition interventions implemented by partners in the second quarter and share innovative ideas to improve nutrition programming in the state,’’ he said.
Hauwa Usman, Nutrition Specialist, Accelerating Nutrition Result in Nigeria, said the organisation was implementing nutrition and health intervention programs at the community level in the 23 local government areas of Kaduna State.
Mrs Usman said that the objective was to increase utilisation of quality, cost-effective nutrition services for pregnant and lactating women, adolescent girls, and children less than five years of age in the state.
The goal is to reduce chronic malnutrition and reduce maternally, child mortality rates and, in the long run, increase school completion, performance, and improve productivity, she added.
Jessica Bartholomew, State Coordinator, Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria, an NGO, reiterated its commitment to continue its advocacy for improved nutrition funding and utilisation.
Bartholomew said that the group supported the state government to organise a policy dialogue on nutrition in the second quarter of the year.