Kano State records the highest proportion of Severe Acute Malnutrition, SAM, in the North-western part of Nigeria, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, has said.
This was disclosed is in a communique issued on Thursday at the end of a program tagged: ‘Policy Dialogue on the Prevention and Treatment of Severe Acute Malnutrition as a Child Right’, organized by CISLAC, in collaboration with Aisha Buhari Foundation, in Kano.
In the communique, the NGOs observed that one in three Nigerian children experiences nutritional deficit, representing 32% of the children population in the country.
They observed that the existing, ailing and under-funded Primary Health Care facilities across the country hampers efforts to achieving adequate and sustainable treatment and prevention of Severe Acute Malnutrition at all levels.
“The growing dwindling financing for nutrition in the national and state’s budgetary allocation is a serious concern that if not promptly addressed may exacerbate increasing cases of SAM with resultant child mortality at all levels as presently witnessed in Kano state.
“Delayed finalization and passage of Kano State Child Protection Bill (adapted from the Child Right Act) is an impediment to secure Children’s rights to adequate nutrition status and sustainable investment on nutrition in the state.
“Existing capacity gaps on the provisions Child Right Act at policy and legislative levels delay reintroduction and passage of Child Protection Bill in the state. Existence of human resource gap on nutrition and lack of proper coordination delay efforts at tackling malnutrition in Kano State,” part of the communique reads.
The communique, therefore, recommended for concerted budgetary advocacy for adequate and sustained nutrition investment across all the line Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs “to avert stock-out of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, RUTF and other preventive measures administered at Primary Health Care facilities in the state”.
The NGOs also called for prompt reintroduction of Kano State Child Protection Bill to the State House of Assembly by civil society groups for review and passage to provide a legal platform to secure child right to adequate and sustainable nutrition status.
“There should be adequate public and community awareness and thorough supervision by Monitoring and Evaluation Committee on the dissemination and usage of RUTF to mitigate reported cases of abuse and misuse by facilities, households and individuals.
“Qualified staff must be recruited to efficiently administer RUTF to avert abuses at top level.
“Ensure total conformity with UNICEF guidelines on prevention and treatment of SAM to ensure compliance to standardization in administration and logistic processes.
“Mainstreaming training and retraining courses on nutrition at primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Kano state to bridge existing human resource base for nutrition,” the communique recommended,
The NGOs, however, called for timely release and judicious utilization of fund and cash-backing support to enable prompt disbursement processes across the line ministries.
They also advocated for prompt domestication and full implementation of existing policies supporting nutrition including the State Policy on Food and Nutrition to give appropriate coordination and direction on nutrition implementation.