Over 2.2m children suffer severe malnutrition in Northern Nigeria * Govts urged to make budgetary allocation for nutrition

Monday, November 28, 2016

With over 2.2 million children are threatened by malnutrition in the Northern part of Nigeria, the federal, state and local governments have been urged to give special attention to nutrition in the 2017 budgetary allocation so as to scale up infant and young children feeding practices and micro-nutrients deficiency.
This was in a communiqué read by Hon. Bukar Mustapha, Chairman Yobe State House Committee on Health at the end of a two-day summit for state policy-makers on financing nutrition in Northern Nigeria, organized by the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning in partnership with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), with support from UKAID and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation of the UK, held at Tahir Guest Palace, Kano.
According to the communiqué, under-nutrition has become alarming in northern Nigeria with 2.2 million out of 2.5 million severely malnourished, and that the majority of children in the region do not receive minimum acceptable diet.
“Delay in domestication and implementation of the existing national policy guidelines on nutrition such as the National Policy on Food and Nutrition and the National Strategic Plan of action for nutrition by the states hampers the efforts to addressing nutrition through a multi-sectoral approach by the relevant sectors including health, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, social protection, among others,” it said.
“Inadequate budget allocations to nutrition and delay or non-release of nutrition appropriated funds by the state governments are inherent systematic challenges in complementing donors’ efforts in scaling up interventions in nutrition.”
The communiqué also noted that lack of legal framework on nutrition budget appropriation and oversight  have become worrisome, adding that food insecurity, inappropriate feeding habits, poor awareness on acceptable diet, insufficient health facilities and services are contributory factors to maternal and child malnutrition across the northern part of the country.
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