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UNICEF, CS-SUNN task Sokoto govt on nutrition as Nigeria ranks second on malnutrition globally

By Suleiman Adamu, Sokoto

IN its drive to ensure Nigeria is transformed into where citizens have secured food and nutrition, a non governmental organisation CS-SUNN( Civil Society-Scaling Up Nutrition in Nigeria) has challenged Sokoto state government for non approval and domestication of the National Strategic Plan of Action for Nutrition NSPAN

Although, it noted that Nigeria has robust policies for food and nutrition but yet to be fully operational due to poor funding.

It also said that 22.4% of households in the state experiencing good insecurity based on the November 2023 cadre harmonized food and nutrition analysis.

” Most MDAs lack realistic budget trajectory or lines on food and nutrition with only three state implementing paid maternity leave increase by 3 months.

Briefing newsmen at a one day media roundtable meeting on ” Increased Investment in Nutrition to Scale Up Quality Services Project” in Sokoto Thursday , Member of the National Steering Committee, Mr Silas Ideva stressed the need for concerted efforts towards changing the narrative disclosing that UNICEF was willing to extend marching fund to drive its objective to success.

He said the non approval of the crucial strategic plan was a barrier affecting the adoption of coordinated, multi-sectoral approach by MDAs for the promotion of food and nutrition in Sokoto state.

The roundtable media meeting by the CS- SUNN was a collaboration sponsored by UNICEF.

Ideva further observed that the absence of dedicated nutrition departments has worsened the challenges resulting in decentralisation of leadership and responsibility for policies , planning programming , advocacy and monitoring related to nutrition across various sectors.

According to the Official who noted that the supportive environment for maternity protection and entitlements was crucial for fostering and enhancing breastfeeding practices, faces obstacles.

” In the face of these challenges , CS-SUNN is implementing the ” Increased Investment to Scale-Up Qullaity Nutrition Services Project in Sokoto state which seeks to spotlight increased investments for nutrition programme in the state.”

Ideva also pointed to it the need for the state government to allocate and promptly cause the release of funds for implementation of nutrition interventions, approve multi-sectoral plan of action for nutrition and scale up food fortification and availability of affordable nutritious food.

In her presentation, a nutritionist, Dr Goodness Chidi Anyawu who expressed regrets that Nigeria was first in Africa and second in the world malnutrition record said malatnutrition has over bearing negative influence on human development and productivity of individual and nation growth .

” Is a major cause for stunting associated with poor brain and cognitive development , performance and lower productivity among 2-3years school children”, point out Anyawu.

” A situation no serious nation can or should condone.”

According to her” we need to build and focus on reversing the trend through concerted efforts by promoting nutrition activities with responsive alliance on specifics across NGOs, Youths and Community based organisations and the academia”

Anyawu disclosed that CS-SUNN was fast tracking efforts at strengthening it’s capacity by deliberately strategizing results oriented approach by engaging donor organisations through various organs.

” We want to encourage same approach in Sokoto state to enable partners drive the vision”

The state Director of Budget, Mr Buhari Umar while highlighting on budget , implementation and nutrition analysis said the need to put into perspective the reality of times to mitigate maltnutrition was critical in the face of current challenges .

He said nothing can change without adequate budget provision and commensurate funding to scale up nutrition.

He noted low IGR , over dependence on statutory allocation, lack of reliable, realistic and relevant data among other challenges to quality nutrition.

” We need food security, availability and utilisation”, he said.

Mr Umar hitherto, explained that budgeting should reflect the needs and desires of the people in relation to the SDHs, SDP and the 9 points smart agenda of the state government.

” To achieve successful implementation of the state budget, all leakages to IGR must be blocked, zero tolerance to corruption and indiscipline must be encouraged and participatory process must be given space across MDAs for positive budget performance”, he stressed.

The state Director of Budget, Mr Buhari Umar while highlighting on budget , implementation and nutrition analysis said the need to put into perspective the reality of times to mitigate maltnutrition was critical in the face of current challenges .

He said nothing can change without adequate budget provision and commensurate funding to scale up nutrition.

He noted low IGR , over dependence on statutory allocation, lack of reliable, realistic and relevant data among other challenges to quality nutrition.

” We need food security, availability and utilisation”, he said.

Mr Umar hitherto, explained that budgeting should reflect the needs and desires of the people in relation to the SDHs, SDP and the 9 points smart agenda of the state government.

” To achieve successful implementation of the state budget, all leakages to IGR must be blocked, zero tolerance to corruption and indiscipline must be encouraged and participatory process must be given space across MDAs for positive budget performance”, he stressed.

The Director disclosed that the state government had demonstrated action for providing N500 million in2024 for direct procurement of RUTF including other agricultural and poverty related intervention.

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