The Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN), an NGO, has called on the Kaduna State Government to accelerate the process of the recruitment of health workers and nutritionists.
The state’s Coordinator, Mr Silas Ideva, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Kaduna.
NAN reports that the state government had announced plans to recruit over 3,000 health workers, including nutritionists, since 2018.
Ideve said that the measure would improve access to health and nutrition services in health facilities across the state.
He pointed out that malnutrition situation in the state has remained malignant with very little progress as indicated by the National Health Demographic and Health Survey 2018.
He said that according to the survey, stunting rate among children under five years improved by only 6.1 per cent in the state in five years, from 56.6 per cent in 2013 to 50.5 per cent in 2018.
He added that three out of every 10 children under the age of five in the state were malnourished, adding that the development poses a great threat to economic development in the state.
According to him, the gross shortage of nutritionists and health workers are among the major challenges contributing to the slow rate of returns in nutrition investment in the state.
“Other problems include untimely release and cash backing of approved funds for nutrition intervention and lack of nutrition budget line in relevant ministries, department and agencies.
“There is equally poor nutrition coordination mechanism, particularly the absence of Nutrition Management Information System to help in making an informed decision.
“Not only that, but there is also non-finalisation, dissemination and implementation of developed nutrition policies.”
The coordinator explained that malnutrition impact negatively on the cognitive and physical development of children which further decreases their learning abilities and reduce productivity in adulthood
He said that these developments have significant consequences in the economic development of any society.
“While I commend the current administration for its proactive response in development issues in the state, I am also appealing for expedite action on recruitment of nutritionists and health workers.
“I am also calling for timely release and cash backing of approved funds for nutrition programmes as well as the strengthening of accountability in nutrition funding,” he said.
Ideva said that the state chapter has recently met and planned activities and strategies for implementation, as part of efforts to support the state government in fighting the scourge of malnutrition.
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He added that the chapter equally developed fund-raising strategies to fund planned activities for 2020.
He said that CS-SUNN is currently implementing the SUN Pooled Fund, Window II Project, designed to improve nutrition programme implementation in the country.
He said that objective was to strengthen linkages and joint collaboration within the multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder platform at both the national and sub-national level.
The coordinator assured that with a grant from the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), the project would improve the delivery of multi-sectoral nutrition activities that impact nutrition outcomes.
He said that the project, which was extended to Kaduna State, would particularly impact on nutritionally vulnerable groups including women, girls and adolescents, and communities at the local level.