By Philip Yatai
The Kaduna State Nutrition Officer, Hajiya Hauwa Usman, said on Thursday that no fewer than 132 children have died of severe acute malnutrition out of the 12,858 hospitalised between January and October 2018 in the state.
Usman, who made this known while giving an update on the nutrition situation in the state at a two-day meeting in Kaduna, also said that 10,604 out of the 12,858 have been cured.
The meeting was organised by Save the Children International (SCI) to support Kaduna State Chapter of the Civil Society Scaling-Up Nutrition in Nigeria (CS-SUNN) to develop two-year Nutrition Advocacy Strategy.
She added that 187 others who have not recovered were undergoing treatment.
“Currently, 11.7 per cent of children under-five years are wasted – suffering from severe acute malnutrition, while 47 per cent are stunted (too short for their age),” she said.
She attributed the high incidence of malnutrition in the state to poor maternal, infant and young child feeding practices which has remained unsatisfactory.
“The Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey, 2017, releveled that the rate of timely breastfeeding initiation is 28.9 per cent, while only 19,7 per cent under-five children were exclusively breastfed.
“Similarly, only 10 children aged six to 23 months were adequately and appropriately fed,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Silas Ideva, CS-SUNN Coordinator in the state, noted the high burden of malnutrition among children under-five years in the state.
According to him, despite many years of implementing nutrition activities by the state government and partners, results are not so encouraging.
“To address the issue of malnutrition, there is the need for nutrition budget line in all relevant ministry, departments and agencies.
“There is also the need to scale up high impact cost effective nutrition interventions at strategic locations and expedite action on finalising Kaduna State policy on Food and Nutrition.
“The state government also need to have a holistic budget for nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions.”
Mr. Yusuf Auta, Deputy Director, Development Aid Coordination in the state Planning and Budget Commission said that N200 million, out of the N300 million allocated for nutrition intervention in the state’s 2018 budget has been cashed backed.
Auta added that the commission is awaiting cash backing of the remaining N100 million for the procurement of Ready to use Therapeutic Food.
He called on civil society organisations in the state to support the government in addressing scourge of malnutrition to give under-five children the chance to celebrate fifth year birthday and beyond.
Earlier, SCI Nutrition Advocacy Adviser, Malam Isa Ibrahim, explained that the objective of the meeting was to support CS-SUNN to develop nutrition advocacy strategy for better outcome.
Ibrahim added that the meeting was also organised to identify barriers and challenges of nutrition intervention in Kaduna state.
“We equally want to identify and review target stakeholders, including champions at State level for nutrition intervention and effective implementation of the strategy.
“What we want to at the end of the day is to develop advocacy messages for the implementation of the advocacy strategy,” he said.